Renee Stout has won the High Museum of Art’s sixth annual David C. Driskell Prize. The artist, based in Washington, D.C., will receive $25,000 to honor her contribution to the field of African-American art.
A worthy choice, Stout channels her heritage in paintings, prints, sculptures, photography and installations that are as wide-ranging in content as they are in form. Allusions to Kongo mnikisi sculpture, voodoo, roots and herbal charms speak to abiding themes of healing and the spirit. She also deals powerfully with the violence and poverty in urban African-American life.
Stout’s healthy exhibition history in Atlanta includes a 2005 solo show at Hammonds House and group exhibits at the High Museum and Spelman College Museum. On an unhappier note, a proposed project for the 1996 Olympics, an 11-foot-tall shack sculpture in Woodruff Park intended as a memorial to Mary Combs, Atlanta’s first black property owner, caused such controversy that it was never built.
Established by the High in 2005, the Driskell Prize recognizes an early- or mid-career scholar or artist for contributions to African-American art or art history. Stout will be honored at a dinner on April 19.