The Preis der Nationalgalerie, a biennial award established in 2000, honors German contemporary artists under the age of 40 whose work reflects the international and lively nature of the German art scene. The 2021 recipient Sandra Mujinga was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is based in Berlin and Oslo. Mujinga creates within a broad spectrum of media and art, including music, sculpture, video, photography, and installations, many of which are inspired by dystopian futures, Afrofuturism, and Octavia E. Butler. Though the prize does not come with money (a point of contention amongst some past nominees), it is still held in high regard, and the winner receives a solo show at the Hamburger Bahnhof, a state-run contemporary art museum in Berlin.
“The topics addressed by her works resonate greatly with the present moment, while also seeming to come from a future already passed,” the prize’s jury wrote in a statement. “They remind us to be considerate of other living beings for the sake of our own survival, and that we can observe and learn from their various strategies of adapting to an ever-changing world.”