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Focus-Abengoa International Painting Prize

One of the founding missions of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation, created in 1982, was to promote culture in its different artistic and scientific manifestations by conducting educational, social work and research activities.

In 1983, the company Abengoa, which is internationally renowned for its industrial development and social and cultural concerns, set up its “Prize for Artistic Creation”, a yearly prize which had that name until 1987, when it was renamed the Focus-Abengoa Painting Prize. At that time, it became an international prize and today it is celebrating its 31st edition in robust health and brimming with artistic recognition.

The board of the Foundation, led by the doyen Javier Benjumea Puigcerver, is charged with implementing and consolidating this important painting event, which today is joined by other major prizes devoted to research and excellence. Since the year it was instated, the Focus-Abengoa Printing Prize has become a prestigious platform recognised both in Spain and abroad that promotes new generations of artists and creators. Over the years, the juries have played a huge part in this recognition, as they are peopled with personalities from different fields within the world of art. Of this extensive, prestigious list, I would like to particularly pay tribute to some of them who were true pioneers in the early days, including Luis Medina, Juan Antonio Carrillo Salcedo, Jaime García Añoveros, Modesto Cuixart and Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez, among others.

A work of art is a reaction, much more a question than an answer to a world that is increasingly disconcerting and disconcerted. With truly expert critique that is increasingly specialised, the presence and continuity of this Painting Prize gives a voice and platform to artistic Focus-Abengoa creators at a time when all the prizes, contents, grants and aid that used to be supported by public and private institutions are quickly disappearing for amply known reasons.

Opening of the exhibition of the Painting Prize at the Hospital de los Venerables.

Among its other unquestionable merits, with its internationalisation this prize has given a voice to the artistic expressions from Latin America in almost all its editions, contributing to the shift from looking at this region of the world with some condescension to having it become part of an emerging market which deserves our increasing attention, as validated by the present call for participation in the Arco fair.

For these reasons and many others, the survival and solidity of this Focus-Abengoa Painting Prize makes it a benchmark within the national and international art scene and a faithful commitment to what is unquestionably part of humanity’s fundamental heritage: culture.

This thirty-first edition of the Focus-Abengoa Painting Prize, the jury awarded the Painting Prize to Óscar Seco for his work Little Nemo in Secoland, and the honourable mentions to Helí García for her work Still Life with Tree (Landscape of Saint Martín) and the artist Koldo Etxebarria for his work Beauty beyond Forms. Likewise, two special mentions went to the painter Greta López Chicheri for her work Where the Banana Plantations Are and to painter Antonio Montalvo Martín for his work Parerga. These works and the other paintings shortlisted for the exhibition will be on display in the temporary halls of the Hospital de los Venerables, the headquarters of the Foundation, until the 8th of March.

Manuel Sánchez Arcenegui

Painter and painting professor

Educational and cultural activities