Max Mara, Whitechapel Gallery and Collezione Maramotti are delighted to present and congratulate Dominique White as the winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women.
White was announced at a special ceremony held at Whitechapel Gallery on 28 March 2023 by guest presenter, Alayo Akinkugbe. The evening was co-hosted by Gilane Tawadros, Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, and Luigi Maramotti, CEO of Max Mara Fashion Group Srl.
White was selected from an exceptional shortlist of fellow artists: Rebecca Bellantoni, Bhajan Hunjan, Onyeka Igwe and Zinzi Minott, by a jury comprising gallerist Rozsa Farkas, artist Claudette Johnson, writer Derica Shields and collector Maria Sukkar. The panel was chaired by the Prize’s guest curator, Bina von Stauffenberg, in collaboration with Gilane Tawadros.
The prize, set up to support and nurture women-identifying artists at a crucial stage in their career, uniquely awards White a six-month bespoke residency in Italy, tailored to fit, inform and develop her winning proposal. This will culminate in a major solo exhibition to be held in 2024, launching at Whitechapel Gallery and touring to Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy.
About Dominique White
Dominique White (b. 1993) lives and works between Marseille, France and Essex, UK. A sculptor and installation artist, she is interested in creating new worlds for ‘Blackness’ and fascinated by the metaphoric potency and regenerative power of the sea. She produces ghostly, seemingly fragile, yet highly physical works, often employing discarded and potent nautical relics such as old sails, masts, burned mahogany, chains and rope, and materials such as Kaolin clay and untreated iron. Her practice weaves together theories of Black Subjectivity, Afro-pessimism and Hydrarchy with nautical myths particularly relevant to the Black Diaspora. She uses the term Shipwreck(ed) to describe an arena for her work, which she redefines as a reflexive verb and state of being to embody the inherent abolition within her work. White’s sculptures, or ‘beacons’, recall sea-bound, imagined worlds which prophesise the emergence of the Stateless: “a [Black] future that hasn’t yet happened, but must.”
About the Awarded Artwork
White’s winning proposal for the 9th edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women is for a new body of work entitled Deadweight, taking as its starting point the measure of ‘deadweight tonnage’, an official term used in the maritime industry that calculates how many units of weight a ship can take before it sinks. The project continues her artistic and political concerns, while engaging with additional narratives and cultural layers which will be researched and further developed during her 6-month residency in Italy.
Through dedicated research, mentoring, study, field trips and studio work, White will explore and interrogate the meaning and exploitation of ‘deadweight tonnage’, tracing its relevance to the historical slave trade and its contemporary forms in the Mediterranean. She will work with historians and journalists as well as visit key sites in southern Italy as part of her inquiry. The residency programme will also include visiting nautical museums, archives and collections; searching ship (grave) yards for discarded materials; and working with traditional and contemporary metal workers to deepen the artist’s understanding of the production processes, skills and techniques required to develop the work. As part of Deadweight’s creative development, White intends to build and then submerge elements of the final work in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the west coast of Italy, which will then form the basis of the solo exhibition in 2024.
Read the full press release here.
The Max Mara Art Prize, the only visual art prize of its kind in the UK, has been awarded biennially since 2005, and is open to UK-based, emerging, women artists who have not previously had a major solo exhibition. The partners of the prize are Max Mara, Whitechapel Gallery and Collezione Maramotti who work in collaboration on each phase of the prize.