Marikit Santiago, a Western Sydney-based Filipina-Australian artist, has been named the 2024 recipient of the prestigious La Prairie Art Award.

This accolade, a collaboration between the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Swiss luxury skincare house, focuses on championing Australian women artists.

Now in its third year, the award not only includes the acquisition of Marikit’s new work for the Art Gallery’s collection but also grants her a coveted residency in Europe.

Marikit’s residency will take her to Switzerland in June to attend the Art Basel International Art Fair as a guest of La Prairie. Her winning pieces, A Seat at the Table (Magulang) and A Seat at the Table (Kapatid), offer a tender portrayal of two generations of her family, encapsulating her parents and sister.

These works, enriched with cultural and religious symbolism, are now a part of the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ collection.

Beatrice Gralton, the Art Gallery’s senior curator of contemporary Australian art, praised Marikit’s work for its intricate blend of art, life, and cultural identity. Utilising diverse mediums such as oil paint and gold leaf, her paintings are described as a heartfelt tribute to her family, her Filipina-Australian heritage, and to Australia itself.

In response to winning the award, Marikit expressed her gratitude, recognising it as an acknowledgment of her parents’ sacrifices in migrating to Australia. She highlighted the significance of her family’s migrant story being represented in the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the opportunity the award presents for international exposure to her art and influences.

“The La Prairie Art Award is a tangible reward for my parents whose sacrifice and hardship in migrating to Australia provided opportunity and the privileges of my upbringing, which, I firmly believe, allowed me to pursue a career in art while raising a family,” she said.

Marikit’s artistic journey includes being a three-time Archibald Prize finalist and winning the 2020 Sir John Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Her recent solo exhibitions, including “Marikit Santiago: The kingdom, the power” at Bendigo Art Gallery, have further cemented her reputation as a significant contemporary artist.

Michael Brand, director of the Art Gallery of NSW, congratulated Marikit on her achievement, acknowledging her as a dynamic and committed artist. La Prairie’s support in acquiring Santiago’s paintings for the gallery was also noted as integral to this endeavor.

Rosi Fernandez, Managing Director of La Prairie Group Aus/NZ, expressed pride in continuing La Prairie’s support of exceptional Australian female artists. She highlighted La Prairie’s intrinsic connection with contemporary art and their commitment to celebrating artists who reflect Australia’s unique identity.

“La Prairie’s founding principles are intrinsically intertwined with the contemporary art world and the contemporary woman of today. We are thrilled to have initiated an Australian award celebrating artists who are uniquely Australian as individuals and through
their practice. It has been humbling to watch our previous recipients Atong Atem and Thea Anamara Perkins embrace the La Prairie Art Award and all it offers as they journey to become ambassadors for Australia and Australian arts,” she said.

La Prairie, a staunch supporter of the arts, sponsors significant events like Art Basel and partners with iconic cultural institutions worldwide. This award represents La Prairie’s ongoing dedication to empowering young female artists in the contemporary art scene.

Marikit’s awarded works are currently exhibited as part of the Making Worlds exhibition at the Art Gallery’s North Building until July 28, 2024.

For more information on the La Prairie Art Award, interested individuals can visit the Art Gallery of NSW website.

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