Lawrence Abu Hamdan, one of the four winners of this year’s Turner Prize, has won the 2019 Edvard Munch Art Award. The biennial award is given to emerging visual artists, no older than forty years of age, who have demonstrated exceptional talent within the last five years. Abu Hamdan will receive a prize of $65,000; an exhibition at Munchmuseet, which will open its new building in Oslo in 2020; and a residency at Edvard Munch’s studio in the city.
Abu Hamdan calls himself a “private ear.” His audio investigations into human rights issues such as the government-controlled Saydnaya prison in Syria, where more than thirteen thousand people have been executed by Bashar Al-Assad’s regime since 2011, and works such as Walled Unwalled, 2018, a performance consisting of a series of narratives derived from legal cases that involve sounds heard through walls, have been presented as evidence in immigration tribunals and used to advocate for organizations such as Amnesty International.
Abu Hamdan’s most recent exhibition, “Earwitness Theatre,” which was staged at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, Tate Modern Tanks in London, and Chisenhale Gallery in London, was nominated for this year’s Turner Prize, which, in a surprising move, was awarded collectively to all four of this year’s nominees. His works can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Van AbbeMuseum, and the Centre Pompidou.