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Swimming Sculptures, Life-Saving Design
Picante - Jubilee Exhibition of the Deutsche Bank Pyramid Awards

Danielle Mourning, Corravahan House, Cavan, Ireland,
from the series Natural History II
© Danielle Mourning

A young woman in search of her ancestors. With the project Natural History II, the American photographer Danielle Mourning explores the history of her family which left its home in Ireland during the "Great Famine". In the middle of the 19th century, an epidemic had destroyed almost the complete potato crop of the country. This catastrophe - more than a million people starved on the island - led to a massive exodus to the United States. The artist approaches these disastrous events with elegiac self-portraits in historical costume and views of the sparse Irish landscape. In doing so, she quotes paintings and newspaper illustrations of that period. For Danielle Mourning, this preoccupation with her family history was, as she called it, "a metaphysical experience".

Sinta Tantra, Isokon Dreams,
© Sinta Tantra

Mourning, a graduate of the London Royal College of Art, owes the possibility to realize this elaborate project to the Deutsche Bank Pyramid Awards. Last year, she was awarded one of the prizes endowed with 8.000 pounds each. Since 1993, Deutsche Bank has supported young creative minds after their graduation from one of the renowned art schools of the British capital. Quite purposefully, the promising talents are promoted during a phase when they have to establish themselves outside of the university. For what use is a great project if the means to its realization are missing? It is exactly at this point where the pioneering concept comes into play: Artists, designers, fashion makers, and artisans are not only supported financially but also with an advisor from Deutsche Bank who helps them develop a viable business plan.

Andrew Parker, Possible Raft,
© Andrew Parker

The 15th jubilee of the Pyramid Awards is currently celebrated with the exhibition "Picante". At the Olivier Foyer of the London National Theatre, works of the winners of the past years are on display through November 11. The exhibition is curated by Sinta Tantra, who last year won a prize for her 40 meter long mural Isokon Dreams at the Regent's Park Bridge. The Bali-born artist blends motifs from her home island with geometric abstractions and elements of pop culture into a vibrating carpet of colors. Since she wanted to involve the public in this project the artist worked in partnership with Camden Railway Heritage, Adelaide Nature Reserve as well as local primary and secondary schools. A series of educational projects were developed including cross-curriculum workshops, an art mentoring scheme with young people and a walking trail guide. Whether it's the swimming sculptures made of trivial everyday objects by Andrew Parker, or the Tongue Sucker, a tool with which even medical laymen can save an unconscious injured person from suffocating - Picante attests to the power and innovative quality of the works of the young Pyramid Award winners.

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