The Toni Beauchamp Prize in Critical Art Writing
Gulf Coast is proud to announce the winner of the 2023 Toni Beauchamp Prize in Critical Art Writing, Constance Collier-Mercado, for their essay “Fishing for Holes in Water: On the Ecopoetics of Penda Diakité's Mixed-Media Art."
In its seventh year, the Toni Beauchamp Prize seeks to support young and mid-career art writers who combine scholarship and journalism, a unique voice, and literary excellence.
The two runners up include “Collapsed Locality” by Kai Hatcher and “Queer Female Visibility in Art History: Contemporary Conflation or Intentional Invisibility?” by Marquita De Jesus
Micki Meng, on the winner:
"Fishing for Holes in Water: On the Ecopoetics of Penda Diakité’s Mixed-Media Art" has a nuanced understanding of the symbolic, rhetoric, literal, and analytic conceptions of the ecological, the indigenous, and the feminine. Nice writing style, developed a clear POV, and builds meaningful insight alongside the example chosen.
“Fishing for Holes in Water: On the Ecopoetics of Penda Diakité's Mixed-Media Art” by Constance Collier-Mercado
Constance Collier-Mercado is an experimental writer and artist whose work examines nuance within dialectical, multilingual, and equivocal spaces. Consumed by ideas of global Blackness as polyamorous Church, she weaves this aesthetic into her practice via an irreverent blk feminine divine. Constance has received Fellowships from Baldwin for the Arts, MacDowell, The Stay at Nearview, The Periplus Collective, The Watering Hole, Kimbilio, The Hambidge Center, and Jack Jones Literary Arts. Her writing has been published in the African Diaspora Art Museum of Atlanta (ADAMA) blog, Obsidian, Hennepin Review, Root Work Journal, The Believer, Kweli Journal, and elsewhere.
2023 Honorable Mentions
“Collapsed Locality” by Kai Hatcher
Kai Hatcher is a Long Island based writer and art critic. She is currently pursuing an MA in Art History & Criticism at Stony Brook University. Her research interests explore the relations between black diasporic visual languages, site specificity and materiality with a particular interest in photography, sculpture, and installation. Her current research investigates urbanity, the aesthetics of decay and its intersections in Afrofuturist narratives. Her most recent writing can be found in The Public Review.
“Queer Female Visibility in Art History: Contemporary Conflation or Intentional Invisibility?” by Marquita De Jesus
Marquita is a fully funded PhD student and member of the Visual and Performing Arts teaching faculty at the University of Texas at Dallas. Marquita is also an Associate Professor with Dallas College and serves as Artistic Director for Fusion, a 501 c(3) non profit performing arts organization. Active scholarship presentations include the Reading, Art, and Writing (RAW) Conference at the University of Texas at Dallas (2022), the New Directions in Humanities Conference at the University of the Aegean in Rhodes, Greece (June 2022), and the Form and Feeling Conference at Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium (October 2022). Marquita recently published with the International Journal of Art Education and is the Guest Editor for a special edition of the Pennsylvania Communication Annual this Fall exploring the impact of visual, performing and literary arts on somatic reclamation in marginalized communities.
Thanks to everyone who entered the 2023 Toni Beauchamp Prize. The winning essays will be printed in the upcoming Spring 2024 issue of Gulf Coast, and online.