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Prize Prints: Opening speech

Speech given by Her Majesty The Queen at the opening of the exhibition Prize Prints: The Queen Sonja Print Award at Scandinavia House, New York, 16 April 2015.

Ladies and gentlemen,
dear friends of the arts!

I must admit I am both thrilled and a bit anxious tonight. Every exhibition related to the Queen Sonja Print Award is a special event to me – and it affects one’s nerves, I can tell you. But I am also really delighted: To be here with you, and in the company of both renowned and emerging Scandinavian artists.

For many years, I had a dream about establishing an art award – and it became a reality in 2011. Today, the Queen Sonja Print Award is actually the largest graphic art prize in the world – and it will be presented every second year. Some have even called it "the Nobel prize of graphic art". This is perhaps a mild exaggeration. Anyhow – we are very happy to be here!

Many people and experiences have helped shaping the path to where our Foundation is today. As some of you know, my encounter with the Norwegian artists and dear friends, Ørnulf Opdahl and the late Kjell Nupen, has played a significant role in tonight’s exhibition. They encouraged me to embark on my own journey, and thereby made it possible for me to fulfil my dream.

During the first years, we looked for prize-winners in the five Nordic countries. In 2014, the Queen Sonja Print Award expanded to become an international prize. Now we search for candidates all over the world. We hope that the magnitude of the award may help to give graphic art the position the Foundation and I believe it deserves.

To our great joy, we can also announce that the award will be complemented with the new Kjell Nupen Memorial Grant. This grant will be presented for the first time in October this year and will be biannual – alternating every other year with the award. It is established in fond memory of one of the founders of our Foundation, and in close collaboration with printmaker and publisher Bill Goldston at Universal Limited Art Editions in Long Island. The grant offers young Scandinavian artists a ten day’s stay – as artist-in-residence – at his studio. We are very grateful for this ideal partnership!

It is my sincere wish that the award and the Kjell Nupen Memorial Grant jointly will continue to stimulate the art of printmaking and inspire ambitious artists to establish themselves on the international art scene.

Again: On behalf of the Queen Sonja Print Award I would like to express our gratitude to all of our loyal supporters, old and new alike. This exhibition would not be possible without your help. I would also, in particular, like to thank the American-Scandinavian Foundation, Scandinavia House and President Ed Gallagher and the staff – they have all assisted us in this unique exhibition.

Finally – to put it with author Saul Bellow: What is art but a way of seeing?
I invite you all to see for yourselves – and I hope you will enjoy it!

I hereby declare the exhibition Prize Prints opened.

Thank you.



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