Artadia Announces The 2023 Atlanta Awardees

By November 29, 2023
Jessica Caldas, The Endeavor, 2021, used and hand dyed military parachute and poly fiber fill, 85 feet in length. Photograph courtesy of Artadia and the artist.

Artadia, a non-profit grantmaking organization and nationwide community of visual artists, curators, and patrons, is thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2023 Atlanta Artadia Awards: Jessica Caldas; Stefanie Jackson; and Nneka Kai.

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The 2023 Atlanta Artadia Awards application was open to visual artists working in any visual media, at any stage in their career, who have been living and working within Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Morgan, Newton, Paulding, Pickens, Rockdale, Spalding, and Walton counties for a minimum of two years. The 2023 Atlanta Artadia Awards are supported by the Ressler/Gertz Family Foundation, Artadia Board of Directors, Artadia Council supporters, and individual donors across the country.

The decision was reached after an extensive two-tiered jurying process culminating in virtual studio visits with jurors Liz Andrews, Director, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and Rory Padeken, Vicki and Kent Logan Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Denver Art Museum.

On the jurying process, Padeken shared, “Artadia continues to play a pivotal role in supporting artists at critical moments in their careers. This year’s cohort of exceptional artists explore a range of complex issues related to the law, gender identity, labor, racial and political injustices, and the cosmic imaginary. I look forward to seeing how their work develops in the future.”

Stefanie Jackson. Photograph by Lela Jenkins and courtesy of Artadia and the artist.

Fellow juror Andrews remarked, “The vibrant and diverse pool of finalists from Atlanta showed me, yet again, how powerful of a place Atlanta is for artists.”

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Andrews commented on Caldas’ practice, “The soft sculptures Jessica Caldas creates are beautifully constructed and somehow monumental in some instances while always feeling deeply intimate.”

“Jessica Caldas envelops viewers in love and care, empathy and understanding, creating spaces that bear witness to and honor the lived experiences of women who labor, who give birth, who struggle, who survive, and who triumph,” said Padeken.

“Stefanie Jackson’s paintings feel wild and surreal, and her long-standing practice deserves this recognition and so much more,” stated Andrews.

On Jackson’s work, Padeken shared, “Stefanie Jackson is a dreamer and a storyteller who envisions fictional worlds haunted by nightmarish realities, addressing issues regarding racial and political injustices, the erasure of African American histories, and social inequity and inequality in the United States.”

“In Nneka Kai’s work, hair becomes a method, a line, a tool, and a thread to mend, bind, and weave an embodied experience of Black identity, thought, and material culture through languages of performance and abstraction,” said Padeken.

“Nneka Kai’s work is rooted within a deeply informed curiosity about the power of Black hair, and I believe that we have only begun to see the great art she will bring to the world,” felt Andrews.

In addition to Caldas, Jackson, and Kai, this year’s finalists for the Awards included Jane Foley, Courtney McClellan and Sergio Suárez, selected by Rachel Adams, Chief Curator and Director of Programs, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts; Liz Andrews, Director, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art; and Jia Yi Gu, Director and Curator, MAK Center in LA.

Nneka Kai, Hair Rug, (2017- ongoing), kanekalon synthetic hair, 68” in diameter. Photograph courtesy of Artadia and the artist.

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