Aesthetica Art Prize 2022:
Winners Announced

The winners for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2022 were announced at a packed-out Private View on 23 June 2022, which saw the UK’s art world descend upon York to see the most engaging practitioners of our times. Baff Akoto and Yukako Tanaka were selected by a team of jurors from the Guggenheim, British Council, South London Gallery, Brooklyn Museum and more.

The 2022 Main Prize-winner is Baff Akoto with Leave The Edges. The film is an immersive dreamscape that explores the complex ancestries of African diasporic cultural expression. The 2022 Emerging Prize-winner is Yukako Tanaka, whose research-based Recalling the Future uses art, science and philosophy to reflect on a new era, where human reality is a hybrid of physical and virtual experiences.

Curator and Aesthetica Art Prize Director, Cherie Federico, says: “Art is a tonic and an elixir. It’s a way to reach people in a more holistic and visceral way. It contributes to our wider well- being; it connects people, places and communities, and helps us to make new discoveries whilst challenging the status quo. Art is transformative. I am honoured to have the opportunity to engage with, and support, so much talent. Every day I am inspired by these artists. I thank them for giving me the opportunity to experience such captivating work. Through the winners’ artworks, we are able to unite and join together through the power of art – as we turn the page on a new chapter in human history.

She continues: “Over the past two years, we have witnessed radical shifts in the ways that we live, communicate, work and play – as well as how we travel, socialise and experience the joys of culture. The Aesthetica Art Prize is an annual celebration of contemporary art, and responds to the present moment. This year’s finalists invite audiences to explore and engage with themes from our changing world, from the ethics of representation, mass digitisation, globalisation, diasporic identities and the climate crisis.”

Aesthetica Art Prize is now in its 15th year and 2022 marks the 10th anniversary that the Prize has worked with York Art Gallery. The Award invites practitioners from across the world to submit their work onto the global stage. This year’s entries come from a myriad of countries – Argentina, Germany, Japan, Norway, the UK and USA – and whose works span painting and drawing; photography and digital art; three-dimensional design and sculpture; installation, performance and video art. The winners have been selected from an initial 4,000 artworks, longlisted to 125 and a shortlist of 20.

Baff Akoto and Yukako Tanaka join Aesthetica’s talented art prize alumni, who continue to demonstrate excellence across the globe, and have gone on be featured in both group and solo exhibitions at The Photographers’ Gallery, V&A, MoMA, and the National Portrait Gallery, amongst others. Other finalists, on show at York Art Gallery, include Steve Messam, who has created a site-specific installation on the portico spanning 15 metres, and Jason Bruges Studio – a pioneer of the hybrid space between art, architecture and technology.

The Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition runs 24 June – 18 September and is a testament to shared creativity in a time of immense change. Tickets are free, but should be booked in advance on the York Art Gallery website.  

To watch video interviews with the shortlisted artists, click here.

To learn more about the 2022 Aesthetica Art Prize, click here.

The Aesthetica Art Prize is open for entries until 31 August, offering prize money of £10,000. To find out more, click here.