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Online OnlyNov 08, 2022

Artadia Announces 2022 Boston Awardees

Boston-area artists Stephen Hamilton, Napoleon Jones-Henderson, and Shantel Miller are the recipients of $10,000 awards.

Three artists, Napoleon Jones-Henderson, Stephen Hamilton, and Shantel Miller, who won Artadia awards.

Left to right: Napoleon Jones-Henderson (photo credit Brantley Carroll), Stephen Hamilton (photo courtesy of the artist), Shantel Miller (photo credit Charles Graham).

Artadia, a nonprofit grantmaking organization and nationwide community of visual artists, curators, and patrons, is thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2022 Boston Artadia Awards Stephen Hamilton, the Liberty Specialty Markets Artadia Award recipient, Napoleon Jones-Henderson and Shantel Miller. The 2022 Boston Artadia Awards were also supported by The Paul and Edith Babson Foundation, the Meraki Artist Award, the Artadia Board of Directors, Artadia Council Members, anonymous funders and individual donors across the country.

Hamilton, Jones-Henderson and Miller will receive $10,000 in unrestricted funds. In addition to the financial Award of $10,000, all Awardees have access to the ongoing benefits of the Artadia Awards program. The 2022 Boston Artadia Award application was open to visual artists working in any visual media, at any stage in their career, who have been living and working within Allston, Arlington, Belmont, Beverly, Boston, Brighton, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Dedham, Everett, Fall River, Gloucester, Lawrence, Lexington, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Nahant, New Bedford, Newton, Peabody, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Saugus, Somerville, Stoneham, Swampscott, Wakefield, Waltham, Watertown, Winchester, Winthrop, and Woburn for a minimum of two years.

The decision was reached after an extensive two-tiered jurying process culminating in virtual studio visits with jurors Daniel Byers, John R. Barbara Robinson Family Director, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, and Martina Tanga, Curatorial Research Associate at MFA Boston.

Juror Martina Tanga on Artadia’s return to Boston: “It’s very exciting to have Artadia in our city of Boston, and it is an honor to serve as the inaugural juror for this Award. The endorsement of artistic practice this Award gives artists is transformative for the awardees and those nominated. We have such creative energy in the city, and I am so grateful that Artadia gives our artists national and international prominence.”

Fellow juror Daniel Byers commented on the jurying process: “After years of a pandemic and few studio visits, the Artadia jury process facilitated in-depth conversations with six fascinating artists, renewing my excitement about Boston’s art community. We met artists with equal investments in material-based, probing studio practices and community participation that connects and opens their work to the public and other artists.”

On Hamilton’s work, Byers stated that “[his] rich cosmology of African religious and cultural symbols, archetypes, and aesthetic traditions animate a complex practice that involves weaving, exquisitely colored and patterned cloth made with natural dyes, and richly descriptive figurative painting. Creating imagery that fuses African and African American iconography with depictions of figures from his creative community, Hamilton’s hybrid artworks offer lush, layered meditations on how traditions can carry forward, live, and grow in the present.”

“Jones-Henderson’s practice stretches profoundly around what it means to be human. His interdisciplinary work engages with a spiritual and cultural continuity, which finds strength in the African-American experience,” expressed Tanga. “For Jones-Henderson, being an artist is defined by being connected with others, and he is an incredibly generous collaborator, community social activist, and inspirational mentor.”

“Miller’s paintings are tenderly intimate, allowing us to experience small glimpses into her world. What we can see through her paintings are powerful colors, intense emotions, love, healing, and togetherness. She brings all of her subjectivity into her work as a daughter of Jamaican Christian ministers responding to her environment in Boston today,” remarked Tanga. Byers touched on the sentiment of intimacy in her work “Miller creates uncanny, color-saturated scenes of close-cropped intimacy, exquisitely framed and fragmented by interior architecture and the canvas’s edges. Her paintings, layered with symbolism, are marked by intense absences, connections, and exploration of identity formed by faith traditions and Black feminism.”

In addition to Hamilton, Jones-Henderson, and Miller, this year’s finalists for the Award included Harry Gould Harvey IV, Ben Sloat, and Jessica Tam, selected by Daniel Byers, John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Director, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts; Taylor Bythewood-Porter, Curator, California African American Museum (CAAM); and Bianca Morán, an independent curator based in New York City.

About Stephen Hamilton (he/him)
Stephen Hamilton is a mixed-media artist, researcher, and arts educator living and working in Boston, Massachusetts. He is currently a Second Year Ph.D. Student in Harvard’s AAAS (African And African American Studies) Department. His research focuses on the indigenous textile industries of southern Nigeria. Hamilton has been an exhibiting artist for the past ten years.

Hamilton identifies simultaneously as an artist, educator, and researcher. His work incorporates both Western and African techniques, blending figurative painting and drawing with resist-dyeing, weaving, and woodcarving. Each image is a marriage between the aesthetic perspectives and artistry of both traditions. As a Black American trained in traditional West African art forms, Hamilton treats weaving, dyeing, and woodcarving as ritualized acts of reclamation.

About Napoleon Jones-Henderson (he/him)
Napoleon Jones-Henderson is an image maker and educator, born in Chicago and currently resides in Roxbury, MA. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and was the recipient of The SAIC Traveling Fellowship Award, and his Master of Fine Arts Degree from Maryland Institute College of Art, and The Brother Thomas Fellowship, Ford Foundation: Artist in Residence Fellow, CFAC. His many commissions and other works exist across disciplines of video, performance, sound, sculpture, and publication; while exhibited nationally and internationally at institutions such as MFA, Boston, ICA, Boston, 58th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, MOCA, North Miami,Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Chicago, Anacostia Museum and Center, Washington DC, and many other institutions worldwide.

The arc of Jones-Henderson’s work spans various materials from woven tapestry, sound/sculpture, moving images, and 2-D works, all empowered by his ever-present exploration of cultural, ancestral, and ontological systems, unmasked in visual form as nodes of transition that stimulate the senses, awakening one’s spirit through “visual music”, a syncopated rhapsody of colors, shapes, symbols, and rhythms. His current work(s) “Passed On: Requiem for OUR Ancestors” are his mimesis at mid-point, portals to the senses, awakening one’s spirit, enabling communication and engagement between viewer and the work(s). These works symbolize a sacred place for the souls of those whose passing has not been properly honored at their death or those who must be remembered by their community: a place to repose.

About Shantel Miller (she/her)
Shantel Miller is Jamaican-Canadian visual artist (born in Toronto, ON) who lives and works in Boston, MA. She received an MFA in Painting at Boston University and a BFA in Drawing and Painting from the Ontario College of Art and Design. In 2021, she received the Dedalus Foundation MFA Fellowship in Painting and Sculpture, the Elizabeth Greenshield Award, the Esther B. and Albert S. Kahn Career Entry Fund and is currently the Ujima Boston Project Artist Fellow for 2022-2024. Miller’s figurative paintings represent lived and imagined experiences that often situate the body in moments of vulnerability and introspection. As part of her creative process, she uses body language symbolically to suggest relationships of tension and intimacy, often depicting interior spaces with isolated moments of realism, alternating perspectives and high contrast color relationships. Working in this way, Miller negotiates notions of a public and private self, and explores ideas relevant to spirituality and existentialism in ordinary depictions of Black life.

About Artadia
Since its founding in 1999, Artadia has awarded over $6 million in unrestricted funds to over 360 artists nationally. Celebrating visual artists and their foundational role in shaping society, the Artadia Award benefits three artists annually in seven major US cities with high concentrations of creative workers—Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco Bay Area. Beyond the grant, the Award includes lifelong access to a community of fellow artists and patrons. The Artadia Award is designed to provide essential funding and recognition to artists at pivotal points in their careers, strengthen their communities, and spur new levels of career achievement.

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