Atlanta’s High Museum of Art has announced multimedia artist Ebony G. Patterson as the winner of its 2023 David C. Driskell Prize for her contributions to the field of African American art. Patterson will receive a $50,000 cash award and will be honored at a gala event to take place April 28. The museum has awarded the prize annually since 2005 in an effort to elevate and promote the work of African American artists and scholars.
Patterson, who was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and splits her time between that city and Chicago, investigates issues surrounding identity, the body, and social and political injustice through a practice spanning drawing, painting, collage, photography, installation, and performance. She is known for her massive brightly hued tapestries created from materials including faux flowers, beads, glitter, sequins, toys, and jewelry. Patterson rose to prominence with her ongoing series “Gangstas for Life,” begun in 2008 and examining concepts of masculinity within the context of dancehall culture.
“Patterson’s striking work commemorates the lives and struggles of marginalized people throughout the world. In doing so, she asks viewers to consider tough questions regarding social and racial inequality globally,” said High Museum director Rand Suffolk. “We are honored to recognize her important practice and considerable contributions to African American art with the 2023 Driskell Prize.” The museum acquired her 2018 work . . . they stood in a time of unknowing . . . for those who bear/bare witness, which appeared in its 2022 exhibition “What Is Left Unspoken, Love.”
Solo exhibitions of Patterson’s work are forthcoming at the New York Botanical Garden and the Arnolfini Museum in Bristol, England. She is serving alongside curator Miranda Lash as co-artistic director of Prospect.6 and is the first artist to hold the position; the latest iteration of the New Orleans triennial is scheduled to launch in 2024. Patterson is also the recipient of the Alturas Foundation Grant (2020), the United States Artists Award (2018), a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant (2017), a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (2015) and an Andy Warhol Foundation Grant, in collaboration with Small Axe (2014).