MFA student Donté K. Hayes wins national art award

MFA student Donté K. Hayes wins national art award

University of Iowa MFA student Donté K. Hayes was named the 2019 winner of the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art by the Gibbes Museum of Art. Hayes, a Georgia-based ceramicist, explores themes in Afrofuturism, a projected vision of an imagined future which critiques the historical and cultural events of the African Diaspora and the distinct black experience of the Middle Passage.

UI graduate student Donté Hayes was named the 2019 winner of the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art.
UI MFA student Donté Hayes was named the 2019 winner of the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art by the Gibbes Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Donté Hayes.

Hayes will be awarded a $10,000 cash prize and will be celebrated at the Amy P. Coy Forum and Prize Party hosted by Society 1858 at the Gibbes on Feb. 6-7, 2020.

“We’re thrilled to announce Donté as our winner,” Angela Mack, executive director of the Gibbes Museum of Art, says in a news release. “His works demonstrate a powerful vision, as he is at the forefront of southern contemporary art. We were extremely impressed with all of our finalists this year and want to thank everyone who submitted to Society 1858.”

Hayes works in clay as a historical and creative base material to inform memories of the past. Ceramics becomes a bridge to conceptually integrate disparate objects and or images for the purpose of creating new understandings and connections with the material, history, and social-political issues. The ceramic objects are vessels, each making symbolic allusions to the black body.

“Thank you to the Gibbes Museum and to Society 1858 for awarding me this year’s 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art,” Hayes says in the news release. “This is a tremendous honor and I wish to congratulate my fellow finalists. As an artist working in the southern United States, this award is so important to recognize all the powerful artwork and creative souls working and born in the Southern region. Winning this award will help to continue to push my art practice financially and creatively after graduate school, along with the opportunity to reach more audiences with my artwork through receiving this prestigious prize. Thank you again, and I am blessed and humbled by winning this award.”

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