ING Unseen Talent Award Ceremony, Unseen Amsterdam 2019 © Olivier van Breugel

ING and Unseen proudly announced Karolina Wojtas (b. 1996, PL) as the winner of the ING Unseen Talent Award Jury Prize for her project We can’t live - without each other. Wojtas received €10,000 to invest in a future project. They were also delighted to announce that the Public Prize had been awarded to Kevin Osepa (b. 1994, CW), who received a commission to create new work for the ING Collection. The ING Unseen Talent Award – a joint initiative of ING and Unseen – was created to provide a platform for exceptional European photography talent to present work on an international level.

Karolina Wojtas, ING Unseen Talent Award Ceremony, Unseen Amsterdam 2019 © Olivier van Breugel.

The winners of the ING Unseen Talent Award were chosen from a group of five finalists. Alongside Karolina Wojtas and Kevin Osepa, Elena Aya Bundurakis (b. 1988, EL), Ulla Deventer (b. 1984, DE), and Irene Fenara (b. 1990, IT) completed the shortlist. The finalists were selected earlier in 2019 by ING Art Management and Unseen from a pool of artists compiled by experts from the European platform for upcoming photography talent, Futures.

The international jury responsible for choosing the winner of the Jury Prize of the ING Unseen Talent Award 2019 included Mels Crouwel (Architect and Founding Partner, Benthem Crouwel Architects), Emma Lewis (Curator International Art, Tate Modern), Kathy Ryan (Director of Photography, The New York Times Magazine), Joana Choumali (Visual Artist), and Sanne ten Brink (Head Curator, ING Collection).

Kevin Osepa, ING Unseen Talent Award Ceremony, Unseen Amsterdam 2019 © Olivier van Breugel.

The finalists were coached by South African photographer and professor Adam Broomberg, known as half of the internationally renowned artist duo Broomberg & Chanarin. Under his supervision, the selected artists created new work within the theme Nature of Change, giving them the opportunity to reflect on the evolution of society and nature. The works were exhibited from 20–22 September during Unseen Amsterdam 2019.

Quote from the Jury: 

‘What struck the jury about Karolina’s work was the originality, the personal approach and the fearlessness. It is unusual to see an artist explore the theme of sibling rivalry and the execution is unlike anything we have seen before. These staged scenes can be disturbing to look at, but they challenge us to look into our own childhoods. The jury looks forward to following this artist in the future.’

ING Unseen Talent Award Ceremony, Unseen Amsterdam 2019 © Olivier van Breugel.

Quote from the coach, Adam Broomberg:

‘They've all had the courage to let their old strategies go and embrace a new way of thinking through their concerns. I can't tell you how proud I am of all of them for accepting that challenge. I don't think just one of them deserves the award, they all do!'

Quote from the Jury Winner, Karolina Wojtas: 

‘I never think about what I want to do. I usually do it and see what happens. Usually I make my work with a team around me. Sometimes I use memories about childhood or my time at school and usually I use my friends and family in my works.’

Quote from the Public Prize Winner, Kevin Osepa: 

‘I’m very interested in Afro-spirituality, and identity is the biggest theme in my work. Especially afro-identity. Because I was born in the Caribbean, and then I moved to the Netherlands when I was seventeen, I felt a sort of disconnect with my island. To create a new home here, I started performing different rituals and photographing them, because I found it important to re-enchant this space. To create a space where I can feel the magic from home. Also linking it back to colonisation, decolonisation and what important symbol of resistance these types of rituals are.

To visualise something makes it easier for people to understand. That’s what I hope. So with my work, I wanted to spark a change by speaking about something in a visual way.’

Thanks to the Jury members, finalists and everyone who voted online!

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