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Queen Sonja Print Award 2016: Welcome

Welcoming speech given by Her Majesty The Queen at the presentation of the Queen Sonja Print Award in Bergen 26 August 2016.

Ladies and gentlemen, nominees,
Dear friends of the arts,

How wonderful to see you all here! I am so happy that you want to share this unique event with us! I have been looking forward to this day for a long, long time – and I am very excited. I hope you are as well! Welcome!

We are gathered here in Grieghallen for a double celebration:
The Queen Sonja Print Award marks its 5th anniversary!
And we have our first international prize ceremony!

I have been on a fantastic journey with the QSPA for many years now – from the time when the very first seeds were planted – to the Foundation was established – and through these five years where we have seen the Foundation thrive and grow. 

Let me take you through some parts of this adventurous journey:

There are many people and experiences that have helped to shape the path. First and foremost, the Norwegian artists and my close friends, Ørnulf Opdahl and the late Kjell Nupen. They encouraged me to embark on my own work. This gave us the opportunity to secure a financial basis for a foundation – and made it possible for me to fulfill my real dream; namely to establish an art award.

The idea was born at Atelier Larsen in Helsingborg, Sweden. Therefore, printmaker Ole Larsen became one of the founders. And a fortunate consequence for the lucky prize winner, is that he or she – in addition to receiving 400 000 NOK – is invited to work in his outstanding atelier for a week.

The Queen Sonja Print Award became a reality in 2011. We started searching for talented artists in the five Nordic countries. Our first award winner in 2012 came from Finland. Tiina Kivinen – I am happy that you are with us here today. The second winner, Svend-Allan Sørensen, came from Denmark. We are very proud of them both.

Two years ago the Board decided to widen the scope of the prize by going worldwide. The artists working with this intriguing medium deserve recognition. The artists who excel in this field deserve international esteem!

I have met many extraordinary people who share my enthusiasm for the graphic arts – and I am overwhelmed by the response we have received for our work promoting this great art form.  I am very proud to list some of our achievements:

Over the last two years the Queen Sonja Print Award has exhibited at Scandinavian House in New York, at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. To my very special delight, we have established a second award, - an award for newly educated young Nordic artists, commemorating the late Kjell Nupen. Behind this generous gift stands a legend in printmaking, the director of Universal Limited Art Editions, Mr Bill Goldston. Bill – I am so happy that you and Riccarda could join us here in Bergen on this very special occation.

Now returning to the foundation’s proud achievements over the last two years:  

We have even inspired the establishment of QSPA Americas Foundation, which was founded earlier this year – based on the same purpose and goals as for the QSPA. This is truly inspiring for us! (It would not have been possible without the strong support and dedication of Consul General in Miami, Mr Trond Jensen and his wife)

Finally, the latest exciting news is that Sotheby’s of London will hold an auction for us on 26th September – the day before their own yearly print auction! And the following evening, we will open the exhibition Texture at Paul Stolpers Gallery.

Are you not tempted to come..?!

I believe all of this shows that the time was more than ripe for a larger prize that highlights graphic art and recognizes some of the most important artists. QSPA is actually the largest award within printmaking today! Could we call it the Nobel Prize of graphic art…?

I believe an award of this magnitude may help to give graphic art the position it deserves.

Thirty-one exceptional artists were nominated for this first international award. Some of the nominees are with us here today – and some have even travelled very far! Thank you for joining us! Their works show a love and compassion for printmaking that I certainly share with them all!

On behalf of the Queen Sonja Print Award I would like to express our gratitude to all our loyal supporters, old and new alike. Warm thanks to all who have made it possible for us to host the Award Ceremony in Grieghallen here in Bergen this year. Bergen is a cultural city in the true sense of the word. I have been in Bergen on countless visits – and worked my way through most of the city’s museums and galleries with great joy and enthusiasm! And I will be back!

I would also like to thank this year’s jury. Starr Figura, Martin Puryear and Ute Meta Bauer have done a fantastic job selecting this year’s exceptional winner. I know the task was not easy!

It is my sincere wish that the Queen Sonja Print Award and our Foundation will continue to stimulate the art of printmaking. That it will support great talent and inspire ambitious artists to establish themselves on the international art scene, for years to come!

I hope this afternoon will be a memorable event for all of us. And you are here to help us make it unforgettable! I am sure we will have a wonderful time together.

Enjoy Bergen, enjoy the art, enjoy the company of kindred spirits!

Thank you all for being here.

Welcome!

 

 

26.08.2016

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