Frieze Artist Award

Kiluanji Kia Henda: Frieze Artist Award 2017

The Luanda-based artist will create a new performative installation at Frieze London 2017

Kiluanji Kia Henda as the winner of the 2017 Frieze Artist Award. From 4–8 October, Kia Henda will realize a new installation at Frieze London as part of Frieze Projects, the fair’s celebrated non-profit programme, curated by Raphael Gygax. Frieze Projects and the Frieze Artist Award are supported by the LUMA Foundation.

Following an open call, artist applications were received from more than 82 countries. Kia Henda’s proposal was selected by the jury including Cory Arcangel (artist), Eva Birkenstock (Director, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf ), Tom Eccles (Executive Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York) and Raphael Gygax (Curator, Frieze Projects & Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich), chaired by Jo Stella-Sawicka (Artistic Director, Frieze Fairs).

Kiluanji Kia Henda (b. 1979, Luanda) is a Luanda-based artist, working across photography, video and performance. Entitled Under the Silent Eye of Lenin, Kia Henda’s winning proposal is a two-part installation, taking the cult of Marxism-Leninism after independence in Angola as its starting point and drawing parallels between witchcraft practices during Angola’s civil war and science fiction narratives used by Cold War superpowers. Looking at how fictional fantasy and its power of manipulation becomes a vital weapon in situations of extreme violence, Kia Henda’s performative installation will change throughout the duration of the fair.

Despite being a political doctrine that rejected religion, the way that Marxism-Leninism was indoctrinated during the revolution demanded strict loyalty and unquestionable belief, similar to religious practice. In this project, the bust of Lenin returns to become the central object of an installation and performance piece, where the memories and narratives of one of the bloodiest conflicts in Africa, are molten with the transcendence of witchcraft and the dogmatic dimension of a political ideology. -Kia Henda's artist statement

About the Frieze Artist Award
This year marks the fourth annual Frieze Artist Award and Kia Henda is the first African artist to receive the award and the project commission. The 2016 Frieze Artist Award was given to Yuri Pattison, who installed a networked artwork throughout Frieze London, exploring ‘trending’ data and systems of interpretation or control. In 2015, New York-based artist Rachel Rose, created a scale-model of the fair structure, in which lighting and sound design simulated the sonic and visual sense frequencies of animals inhabiting The Regent’s Park. In 2014, the inaugural winner of the Frieze Artist Award, Mélanie Matranga’s project explored economic and emotional exchange in a series of online videos and an on-site café-installation at Frieze London.

Tickets for Frieze London 2017 are available from July.