Narsiso Martinez: Winner of Frieze Impact Prize 2023

Presented in partnership with Define American, an organization that uses the power of storytelling to humanize conversations about immigrants

in Frieze Los Angeles , News | 09 FEB 23

The winner of the Frieze Impact Prize has been announced as California-based artist Narsiso Martinez. The prize recognizes an artist who has made a significant impact on contemporary art and society and will see Martinez present a solo project at Frieze Los Angeles 2023.

Presented in partnership with Define American, a non-profit narrative change organization that uses the power of storytelling to humanize conversations about immigrants, the 2023 Impact Prize is a major initiative launched together with Endeavor Impact. Frieze Los Angeles takes place from February 16-19 in the new location of Santa Monica Airport.

Martinez’s work addresses the immigrant experience, specifically that of the immigrant farm workers that power much of the US agricultural business. His work has been exhibited locally and internationally, and is in the permanent collections of the Hammer Museum, Orange County Museum of Art, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, University of Arizona Museum of Art, Long Beach Museum of Art, Crocker Art Museum, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Martinez receives $25,000 and the opportunity to realize his work Sin Bandana, a series of 12 charcoal portraits of farm workers, at Frieze Los Angeles 2023. Martinez was selected by a jury composed of Ariel Emanuel, Tanya Aguiñiga, and Jose Antonio Vargas.


About Sin Bandana by Narsiso Martinez

Drawn from Martinez’s own experience as a farm worker, his work Sin Bandana focuses on the people that perform the labors necessary to fill produce sections and restaurant kitchens around the US. Martinez’s portraits of farm workers are executed on discarded produce boxes collected from grocery stores. In a style informed by interwar Social Realism and European Realism, Martinez’s work makes visible the difficult labor and onerous working conditions of the American farm worker.

Jose Antonio Vargas, founder of Define American said: 'Immigrants are not a monolith; their stories are diverse and nuanced. Narsiso Martinez’s portraits of migrant farm workers bring to life complex, compelling, and authentic immigrant stories that are often overlooked, yet part of the American experience. We hope that Narsiso’s storytelling through art will reshape how people relate to the world around them and inspire a more equitable and more humane future.’

About the Frieze Impact Prize

The Frieze Impact Prize draws inspiration from Mark Bradford’s Life Size (2019), a work created on the occasion of Frieze Los Angeles 2019, which depicted a police body camera isolated on a simple, monochrome background, exposing the inequitable aspects of the criminal justice system. Following this initiative, the Frieze Impact Prize was established to recognize artists who contribute their talents towards issues of social justice.

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