The jury, which this year is chaired by Nathanja van Dijk (director Kunsthal Rotterdam) and further consists of Fons Hof (director Art Rotterdam), Charl Landvreugd (artist, curator and Head of Research & Curatorial Practice at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam) and Evelyn Taocheng Wang (winner of the Dolf Henkes Prize 2019), makes the following statement about the nominations:

“We were delighted to be able to choose from a large number of artists who put Rotterdam - and often Curaçao - on the map with their fresh, idiosyncratic and innovative artistic practice. In their great diversity, the nominated artists have in common that they each investigate topical themes such as origin, heritage, historiography, identity, queerness and physicality in a radically different way. At the same time they transcend the social debate by means of a refined and intelligent visual language. ”

Exhibition in TENT
TENT is once again organizing an exhibition with the nominees, which in principle during Art Rotterdam opens and will be on view from February 3 to April 11, 2021. These dates are subject to change due to the current uncertain times of Corona. The date on which the winner will be announced will follow shortly.

About the nominees

Kevin Osepa was born and raised on Curaçao and lives in the Netherlands. Starting from his own identity, he imagines what an Afro-Caribbean identity means in a post-colonial world. With film and photography he creates magical-realistic stories around Afro-spirituality, sexuality, masculinity and family. Osepa (Curaçao, 1994) graduated from the Utrecht School of the Arts in 2017. This year he was also nominated for a Golden Calf and at the Netherlands Film Festival (best debut). Osepa has exhibited at the Wereldmuseum, the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Unseen, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam and TENT Rotterdam.

In the refined, detailed pencil drawings of Koes Staassen male nude and queer sexuality are central. His drawings, constructed as still lifes, show an intimate game full of sensual desire and surrender that he plays with friends. They are images that we don't often get to see; explicit in nature but dreamy and vulnerable because of the way Staassen uses his pencil. Staassen (Netherlands, 1985) graduated from AKV | St. Joost in 2014. His work is currently on display at Cokkie Snoei, Rotterdam. Previously he exhibited at Prospects Concepts / Art Rotterdam 2020; Best of Graduates, Ron Mandos gallery, Amsterdam; and on various Dutch art stages.

Jay Wendy Tan makes sculptures, performances, sound and video work. In spherical work Tan creates - often with everyday household or do-it-yourself materials and mechanics - open environments with meaningful constructions. Decoration is a political gesture for them. Tan (United Kingdom, 1982) completed the Piet Zwart Institute in 2010 and was resident at the Rijksakademie in 2014-15. Tan showed their work at CACC Paris, Ujazdowki Castle in Warsaw and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, is a lecturer at the Rietveld Academy and the MA Artistic Research at the KABK, and co-founder of Tender Center in Rotterdam.

Geo Wyeth moves between music, performance, installation and video. In their narrative work absurdity, theater and poetry come together. The characters that Wyeth embodies try to break free from the position in which they seem to be stuck, whereby music often functions as a portal to another reality. Wyeth (United States, 1984) studied at Bard College (NY) and was resident at the Rijksacademie in 2015-16. Hen has exhibited and performed at The New Museum, MoMA PS1, New York Live Arts, LA MoCA, Boston ICA, Stedelijk Museum, De Nieuwe Kerk, Van Abbemuseum, MAMA, TENT Rotterdam and more, and is a teacher at WdKA and DAi.

9th edition of the Dolf Henkes Prize

Dolf Henkes (Rotterdam, 1903–1989) was a Rotterdam painter who lived and worked in Katendrecht. His oeuvre tells the story of the world around him: people and the port, still lifes, landscapes, the devastation of the war, portraits and nude studies. At the end of 1945 he got on the boat to Curaçao. Everything on the island would make a deep impression on him after the dark years of the war at home - the colors, the light, everyday life. He processed his impressions in his own visual language and Curaçao had a lasting influence on his work. After the death of Henkes and after the death of Jan and Marie Henkes, the Dolf Henkes Foundation was formed from the estate of the brother and sister. The board of this fund decided in 20o4 to establish the Dolf Henkes Prize and has since been awarded every two years to visual artists from Rotterdam or Curaçao. Previous, now internationally known winners are: Evelyn Taocheng Wang, Katarina Zdjelar, Gyz La Rivière, Lara Almarcegui, Erik van Lieshout, Melvin Moti, Lidwien van de Ven and Jeroen Eisinga.

The Henkes Prize is made possible in part by a contribution from the Henkes fund, which is held by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.