Bay Area visual artists Sydney Cain, Terri Friedman and Dana King have been named as the three recipients of the 14th annual San Francisco Artadia Awards.
The prize from Artadia, the New York grantmaking foundation that funds artists annually in six major U.S. cities, brings with it $10,000 in unrestricted funds, as well as access to the organization’s network of artists, curators and collectors.
For King, the Oakland sculptor whose installation “Monumental Reckoning” was unveiled in Golden Gate Park in June, the access to that network is at least as important as the funding.
“As a sculptor, I work all by myself — except for my 4½-year-old grandson who likes to help as a studio assistant. It makes me very happy,” she told The Chronicle in a phone interview. “But with ‘Monumental Reckoning,’ I had a group of 12 women working with me, and that was something I’d never experienced before.”
The money is welcome, she added — “I’ll use it to buy supplies and a new sculpture stand” — but recognition of her work and access to a larger community of artists is more important.
“My work is to create Black bodies in bronze in a way that I feel is rather subversive. The stories that have been told in sculpture are Eurocentric in nature, and my mission is to tell the narrative of African descendants in public,” she explained. “I hope this encourages other artists to tell our story as well.”
Cain, a San Francisco multimedia artist, works on paper with graphite, powdered metals, lithography, dye and chalk. Those materials, she says in an artist’s statement, “are transcendent emblems for myth-making. Over time, by drawing reductively, erasing and sculpting figures from powdered surfaces akin to archeological work, figures and identities are revealed.”
Her solo exhibition “Refutations” is scheduled to open Oct. 20 at the Museum of the African Diaspora.
“I’m excited for the money to enable me to continue doing my work, and creating work that is meaningful and hopefully healing for the world,” Cain said. “And perhaps that’s also a signal for other Black folks who are doing that to keep going as well.”
Friedman works with colored textiles to create what she calls “somatic posters of urgency” and to “explore those places where the political and emotional bodies intersect.”
The three artists were selected from a group of six finalists that also included Rodney Ewing, Klea McKenna and MCXT Collective.
The award was made by a jury that included Monetta White, executive director of the MoAD, and Wassan Al-Khudhairi, chief curator of the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis.
The San Francisco Artadia Awards are open to visual artists working in any medium who have lived for at least two years in any of the nine Bay Area counties.
Last year’s winners were Lava Thomas and Marcela Pardo Ariza.