Friday 19 July 2024
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At ARCOmadrid, Spanish artist Mónica Mays wins the illy SustainArt award

Mónica Mays' artistic oeuvre straddles sculpture, installation, and performance, delving into object symbolism through autobiographical narratives, historical archives, and material knowledge. With "In the Palm of Your Hands," she explores the symbolism of palm plants, drawing from biblical, paradisiacal, and ornamental imagery

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MADRID, Spain – Mónica Mays, born in Madrid in 1990, clinched the XVII illy SustainArt Award with her project “In the Palm of Your Hands,” backed by illycaffè in partnership with ARCOmadrid to bolster emerging artists. Currently splitting her time between Madrid and Amsterdam, Mays pursued cultural anthropology at the University of New Orleans before graduating with honors from the École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg in 2015.

In 2017, she earned a Master’s degree from the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.

Mónica Mays’ artistic oeuvre straddles sculpture, installation, and performance, delving into object symbolism through autobiographical narratives, historical archives, and material knowledge. With “In the Palm of Your Hands,” she explores the symbolism of palm plants, drawing from biblical, paradisiacal, and ornamental imagery.

The jury, consisting of Patrizia Sandretto Rebaudengo (curator and founder of the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation), Tania Pardo (Director of the CA2M Museum and the Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo), Ianko López (specialist journalist of Vanity Fair), and Carlo Bach (Creative Director of illycaffè), singled out Mónica Mays’ work from the final 10, chosen from a shortlist of 93 candidates.

They commended Mays for the vigor with which she blends diverse elements in her material exploration, combining industrial objects with elements from the natural and organic realms.

“Boosting the careers of deserving young artists is one of the goals that the company has set itself since it chose to support contemporary art,” comments Carlo Bach, Creative Director of illycaffè.

“After 17 years, the illy SustainArt Prize continues to grow and attract the interest of the many galleries that present stimulating projects, the artists who participate with enthusiasm and the visitors who are always during the event.”

The award ceremony took place at the illy space of the ARCOmadrid International Art Fair. Attendees engaged in discussions on contemporary art, savored the illy blend, and explored the latest illy Art Collection by South Korean artist Lee Ufan.

The illy Space also showcased “Costas cuentes,” crafted by Cristina Mejías, winner of the 2023 edition of the illy SustainArt Award.

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