Massive Pencil Mural Wins $200,000 Art Prize

Drumrolls, please. After more than 47,000 voters cast 412,560 votes, the ArtPrize 2012 winner was finally announced last Friday. Taking home the grand prize of $200,000 was Adonna Khare, an elementary school art teacher turned stay-at-home mom who created a massive mural of a menagerie of animals all by pencil.

A week before the September 19th opening of ArtPrize, Khare brought in her 8-feet tall by 35-feet wide drawing “Elephants” and put it up on the wall of the museum. During the event, she continued to add to her piece, even spilling over on the museum’s walls. She purposely set up her drawing as a triptych, “to engage the viewers in the transformation of the work.” At the end, after more than three weeks, the stunning drawing grew to be 13-feet tall by 40-feet wide. (You can see completed photos of the mural on Khare’s Facebook page or on her website.)

According to the Los Angeles Times, “Elephants” is a highly personal piece of art work. “It’s kind of a biography of my life transplanted into animals,” she told them. “Sad things like loss and sickness, and happy things like the birth of my daughter.”

An orangutan hooked up to medical equipment stands for her young nephew who was diagnosed with diabetes, representing “the sickness of a child, and what it means to inflict pain in order for somebody to survive.”

If you couldn’t make it to ArtPrize, you can still see “Elephants” at the Grand Rapids Art Museum for a little while. There isn’t an official date end date yet. The museum is beginning to install its next exhibition, "Real/Surreal," which opens October 19th, with art work from the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. While most ArtPrize 2012 exhibitions will be removed to prepare for it, "Elephants" is not in the galleries that will feature “Real/Surreal,” and so, is not currently scheduled for de-installation.








Adonna Khare’s website





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