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The Focus-Abengoa Foundation announces the twenty-fourth Focus-Abengoa Painting Prize

August 28, 2007

Seville, 28th August 2007 - The Focus-Abengoa Foundation invites all professionals and amateurs alike, from any Member State of the European Union and America, to participate in its twenty-fourth competition for the Focus-Abengoa Painting Prize.

Since its creation in 1987, the Focus-Abengoa Painting Prize has served as a true reflection of the pictorial concerns of thousands of artists, and its long-running trajectory has earned it its place as one of the most prestigious awards on the European and American art scene.

The Focus-Abengoa Painting Prize is a clear example of the unconditional and unerring commitment of the Foundation to culture and its social diffusion. Participants can therefore make use of any pictorial technique and are free to choose their own theme. The artist awarded first prize will receive a sum of 24,000 euros, and there will also be two runner-up prizes of 6,000 euros each. The current competition is now approaching the end of its registration period, which closes on 20th September.

Since 1987, prize-winning works have been added to Focus-Abengoa’s collection. Furthermore, many of them are shown at the various internally-funded exhibitions held annually in the Hospital de los Venerables in Seville, the Foundation’s headquarters, and many others now form part of the décor in Abengoa's and its subsidiaries’ different offices.

Last year’s prize
The canvas of Cadiz-born artist Garikoitz Cuevas (1968), "Apóstoles Involuntarios" (" Unintentional Apostles"), was the last work to be added to the Focus-Abengoa Collection. The jury of the 2006 Painting Prize highlighted the work’s "expressive power, contemporary classicism and absolutely model technical rigueur". Cuevas, a graduate in Fine Arts from the University of Seville, has had works shown in the collective exhibitions of various museums, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Seville, the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, and the Espai D’ar Contemporani in Castellón, as well as in several international fairs such as the one for Contemporary Art in Milan and ARCO in Madrid, where his creations have been regularly exhibited since 1996.

His extensive career is represented in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, the Navarra Museum in Pamplona, the Post and Telegraph Museum in Madrid, and also in collections belonging to Unicaja, the Students’ Residence, the Minister for External Affairs and the Spanish College in Paris.

Young talent
In the penultimate competition, the 2005 Painting Prize went to the young artist María José Gallardo Soler for her work "N.E.N.E. He seguido el movimiento de tus labios" ("N.E.N.E. I have followed the movement of your lips"). Despite her short professional career, the canvas submitted by the young artist from Badajoz, a graduate in Fine Arts from the University of Seville specializing in Design and Engraving, surprised the jury with its "imaginative richness, personal universe and refined technique, as well as its ability to evoke a whole world of interrelationships" . Ever since it was created, the Focus-Abengoa Prize has wished to serve as a means of financial and social support for promising young artists on their way to establishing a professional career.

The mark of Velázquez
The Focus-Abengoa Foundation has always expressed a keen interest in culture, not only with regard to activities directly related to the city of Seville, but also to all forms of artistic, literary and scientific expression both in Spain and internationally. Of all these forms, painting has occupied a most prominent place in the day-to-day life of the Foundation. One excellent illustration of this commitment is the recent acquisition of Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez’s painting, Saint Rufina, on 4th July this year at an auction held at Sotheby’s in London.

The work, painted by the Sevillian artist between 1628 and 1629, is currently hung on the lower archway of Seville’s City Hall, although within the next few months it will be moved to form part of the future Velázquez Research Centre, which is to be set up in the Foundation’s headquarters thanks to the collaboration agreement signed between the Seville Consistory and Focus-Abengoa.

The Focus-Abengoa Foundation was set up in 1982 as a result of the cultural work which Abengoa began in 1972 with the publication of the works entitled "Sevillian Topics" and "Iconography of Seville". During the same period, a collection was started, containing documents, books and engravings on the Kingdom of Seville and by authors from Seville. This initial cultural work made the directors of Abengoa aware of the importance of proving themselves beyond their essential technological functions with an activity that would benefit society, thus creating the Fondo de Cultura de Sevilla Foundation.

With this new competition round for the Painting Prize, the Focus-Abengoa Foundation aims to back, support and promote the public recognition and future renown of all participating artists.

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