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Theatre director Bob Wilson among laureates of ‘Nobel of the Arts’

LONDON (AFP): Three American artists, including avant-garde theatre legend Robert Wilson, are among this year’s laureates of the Praemium Imperiale, known as the “Nobel of the Arts”, announced on Tuesday.

Icelandic-Danish sculptor Olafur Eliasson and renowned Burkina Faso-born architect Diebedo Francis Kere, were also among the five winners unveiled simultaneously in Paris, London and Berlin.

The Praemium Imperiale, which honours artists in painting, sculpture, theatre/cinema, music and architecture, was created in 1988 by the Japan Art Association and grants each laureate 15 million yen (around 96,000 euros).

Prince Hitachi, uncle of Emperor Naruhito of Japan, will oversee the prize-giving ceremony in Tokyo on October 18.

Robert “Bob” Wilson, born in 1941 in Waco, United States, helped transform the way opera is seen around the world but remains much better-known in Europe than his home country, particularly in France where he was entrusted with inaugurating the Opera Bastille in 1989.

The music laureate is jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, born in 1961 in New Orleans. He has won multiple Grammy awards, and wrote the first jazz composition to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music.

The painting award went to Latvia-born Vija Celmins, who was raised in the United States.

She is known for her highly detailed, lifelike depictions of the natural world, particularly the oceans, and has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Modern in London.

Eliasson was born in 1967 in Denmark and spent his childhood in Iceland closely involved with the environmental movement that has continued to inspire his sculptures.

Kere won the Pritzker Prize in 2022, considered the highest distinction in architecture, for his work combining traditional materials and modern design.