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Art for Change Prize: Meet the America's Winner


Global creative solutions company M&C Saatchi Group and London’s iconic Saatchi Gallery launched a new annual international art initiative – the Art for Change Prize. Meet the six winners, chosen from over 2,500 entries from 130 countries worldwide

Art for Change Prize: Meet the America's Winner

As part of a shared mission in making art, culture, and creativity accessible to everyone, this prize will stimulate dialogue around visual arts as a medium for positive global and social change and give exposure to emerging artists worldwide. 

The six winners from around the world were decided by some of the best business and creative minds from the M&C Saatchi Group globally and eminent guest judges. In this Art for Change series, we hear from our winners for 2022. Find out what inspires them artistically, what equality means to them, and what’s coming up next. 

The Art for Change Prize will return in Spring 2023.

Introducing Rachel Zhang from the United States. Learn more about Rachel’s work here.

Artist Rachel Zhang with her winning entries, 'The American Dream' and 'Fruit Market in the Gvnt’s Garden', at London’s Saatchi Gallery. Image credit: Tom Shaw

1. Describe your artistic practice in 3 words. 

Rachel> Storytelling. Contradictions. Cycles

2. What excites you most about the Art for Change Prize? 

Rachel> Its initiative of highlighting artists around the world to discuss ideas relevant to our societies today, to help us all imagine better futures.

3. You have been selected as the winner for the Americas. Tell us about your winning artworks and the relationship to this year’s theme ‘Equality’. 

Rachel> With my two paintings 'Fruit Market in the Gvnt’s Garden' and 'The American Dream', I was thinking about how systems of belief and power imbalances play out in collective psyches and figures within public spaces. I was interested in exploring social stratification and hierarchies through my imagery, hinting at inequalities that have been the underlying foundations of American society and societies throughout history. In these paintings I wanted to question and critique how ‘equality’ is said to be an ideal that society is structured around while inequalities have been the norm. 

With the piece 'The American Dream' I wanted to focus on one’s hope for equal opportunity to pursue ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ in America. I was inspired by the history of emotions that surround the myth of the American Dream as well as personal family stories of immigration to the US.

4. Can you tell us more about where you are from and how this affects your work? 

Rachel> I am from New York and have lived in Pennsylvania for much of my life. My work is influenced by American history and the current political climate, their intersecting narratives and moods informing the emotional undercurrents of my works. In addition, my family background is from China, so various histories have affected my outlook on the world and perspective on ideas of authority, belonging, and personal and group identity, which have seeped into the way my figures interact with one another in my work. 

5. Where do you find your inspiration? 

Rachel> I find my inspiration from everyday life, observing the people, things, and spaces around me. Thinking about and imagining their origins, roles, interactions all inspire my imagery. I am also inspired by fictional dystopias, as well as absurdist and surrealist books and other media. From art history, I find inspiration in works meant to tell a story, from early Netherlandish carnivalesque genre paintings, to East Asian scroll paintings, to the satirical works of the New Objectivity movement, to medieval European religious paintings.

6. Do you believe art has the power to change the world? 

Rachel> I believe the arts have the ability to change perspectives, bring awareness to issues, and imagine better societies, which together have the power to motivate actions to change the world. 

7. If you could be compared to one artist from art history, who would it be? 

Rachel> Pieter Bruegel the elder

8. What’s next? 

Rachel> Continue making! 

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M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment NA, Mon, 30 Jan 2023 10:32:49 GMT