A performance about identity and race and a series of photographs about humanity’s shared connections won grand prizes in a popular art competition in western Michigan.
New Jersey-based Le’Andra LeSeur’s “brown, carmine, and blue” performance won the $200,000 juried grand prize at the 10th international ArtPrize in Grand Rapids.
Le’Andra LeSeur is in shock when she is announced as the winner of the $200,000 juried grand prize during the 10th international ArtPrize for her time based entry “brown, carmine, and blue”
LeSeur said she was shocked to learn she’d won. She described her work as primarily about identity, and the way people navigate their lives and ultimately how they find joy. The work has a performance piece, video work and an installation element.
“When I first started it, I deemed it as a love letter to myself,” LeSeur said afterward. “Just the fact that people connected to the same things I was going through, I can’t even put words into how that feels. It’s really amazing.”
Le’Andra LeSeur, far right, smiles as she is awarded the $200,000 Juried Grand Prize for her work “brown, carmine, and blue” during the ArtPrize 10 awards ceremony
LeSeur said she performed on stage for 13 days carrying, at times, a cinder block representing the weight and pain we carry in life. The video work showed clips of her and members of her family interacting. And for the installation segment, the cinder blocks were merged with neon and another lighting to create a mood.
“This will definitely put me in the space of creating more work,” she said of the prize. “It will also allow me to help other black, female artists get their voices out there.”
Following this year, organizers plan to hold ArtPrize every other year instead of annually.