Great Rivers Biennial

Saj Issa, Basil Kincaid, Ronald Young

Since 2004, the Great Rivers Biennial (GRB)—a collaborative initiative between CAM and the Gateway Foundation—recognizes and fosters artistic talent in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area. The artists selected receive $20,000 in unrestricted funding and are featured in the Great Rivers Biennial exhibition at CAM. For the 2024 Biennial, artists Saj Issa, Basil Kincaid, and Ronald Young have proposed exhibitions that involve ceramics, paintings, textiles, and sculptural assemblage.

The award winners were chosen by a distinguished panel of jurors who visited the studios of ten semifinalist artists chosen from a pool of 96 applicants. Ten semi-finalists received in-person studio visits over a two-day period with three distinguished jurors: Rita Gonzalez, Terri and Michael Smooke Curator and Department Head of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Jamillah James, Manilow Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and Caroline Kent, a Chicago-based artist and Assistant Professor of Painting at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University. Following deliberations, the jurors unanimously agreed on this cohort of awardees.

The exhibitions will be curated by Ferring Foundation Chief Curator Dean Daderko and Associate Curator Misa Jeffereis, with assistance from Grace Early, Exhibitions Assistant.

Photo: Saj Issa

Saj Issa (b. 1994, St. Louis, MO) received a BFA from Webster University, St. Louis, and an MFA at the University of California, Los Angeles. Growing up between St. Louis and Palestine, her practice is a representation of displacement, identity, social issues, consumerism, and drawing parallels between the East and West. Issa provokes, informs, and entertains viewers with her work, which has been exhibited at Felix Art Fair in Los Angeles, Materials Fair in Mexico City, and the exhibition Many at the Craft Contemporary Museum, Los Angeles. Issa is a recipient of the 2022 NCECA Graduate Student Fellowship, and has been selected to appear in New American Paintings, No. 159 & 165 MFA Annual Issue. She has been an artist-in-residence at Craft Alliance Center of Art and Design in St. Louis and Belger Crane Yard Studio in Kansas City.

Photo: Basil Kincaid

Basil Kincaid (b. 1986, St. Louis, MO) is an artist who honors and evolves traditional practices through quilting, collaging, photography, installation, and performance. Kincaid’s materials are vested with emotional and memorial content, and function as spiritual technology, advancing wisdoms born from Kincaid’s greatest values: family, imagination, rest, and experience. Kincaid studied drawing and painting at Colorado College, graduating in 2010, and has exhibited works with Hauser & Wirth, Mindy Solomon Gallery, Kravets Wehby Gallery, Kavi Gupta Gallery, Carl Kostyál, and others. Kincaid received a St. Louis Regional Arts Commission Fellowship (2020), became a United States Artist Fellow (2021), and joined the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (2021). Recent exhibitions include new quilt works in The New Bend at Hauser & Wirth’s New York and Los Angeles locations, New African Portraiture at the Kunsthalle Krems in Austria, and a ceremonial installation at Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis. Kincaid exhibited Dancing the Wind Walk, a semipermanent fabric monument during Frieze Los Angeles 2023, with support from the Art Production Fund.

Photo: Ronald Young

Ronald Young (b. 1956, St. Louis, MO) creates mixed-media assemblages from objects he finds in his immediate environment: aged doors, old tools, wood molding trim, rusty chains, ropes, bricks, and nails are among the objects he repurposes at his discretion. His socially conscious artworks celebrate the resourcefulness and resilience of African Americans. A retired art teacher with over 33 years of experience, Young earned his MFA from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art at Washington University in St. Louis, where he was the recipient of a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellowship. He also received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Japan in 2007. Young’s works are in public and private collections across the US, including the St. Louis University Art Museum and the Woodruff Library in the Atlanta University Center at Clark Atlanta University, where Young received his undergraduate degree.


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