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Helvetia Art Prize winner Bisso Yann Stéphane at the Liste Art Fair Basel 2024

The 2023 Helvetia Art Prize has been won by Bisso Yann Stéphane. This award gives the artist and graduate of the Master's degree programme at HEAD in Geneva the opportunity to exhibit his works at this year's Liste Art Fair Basel. In a unique pictorial language between landscapes, portraits and abstract snapshots in time, Bisso Yann Stéphane's painting merges memories of his personal history, representations of a perceived present as well as future hopes and aspirations in a dreamlike space of fantasy.
10.06.2024 | Media releases
In his work Bisso Yann Stéphane, originally from Cameroon, questions the historical memory of his double identity through the artistic construction of landscapes. Using this classical medium he addresses highly relevant sociopolitical issues, opening up a fresh and very personal perspective on the classical genre of landscape painting.
The focus of Bisso's painting lies in a field of tension stemming from his research on the diasporic culture of the Caribbean philosopher and writer Edouard Glissant and the latter's understanding of the concept of creolization. Glissant speaks of an intermediary and spiritual space that opens up between the place we originally came from and our increasing affinity with new geographical areas.
"Les nuages sont des vagabonds"
In his landscape paintings, Bisso draws from this dreamlike state between memory and imagination. In doing so he illuminates an intimate reflection on themes of rootedness, identity and our understanding of place and time. In the series "les nuages sont des vagabonds" exhibited at the Liste Art Fair Basel, banks of clouds take centre stage and mingle with views of a horizon, sleeping giants, children playing and a swan that seems to reveal a second face. The individual scenes open up a view of nature in which warm lights and the clear moonlight meet open fields, icy waters and high walls.
Help getting started as part of the commitment to art
With the Art Prize, Helvetia Insurance supports young artists at the beginning of their career. For example, the Helvetia Art Prize is aimed at students who will soon graduate from Swiss universities of applied sciences in the field of "visual arts and media art". The prize includes double start-up aid: the winner receives not only prize money of 15,000 francs but also the opportunity to present their work to an international specialist audience and the public with a solo exhibition at the Liste Art Fair Basel. Since its foundation in 1996, the Liste has been dedicated to the active promotion of galleries and artists of a young and slightly more established artists.  
The Helvetia Art Prize is an essential part of the international insurance group's commitment to the arts. The prize has been awarded annually since 2004. Originally called the Nationale Suisse Art Prize, since the merger of Helvetia and Nationale Suisse it has been known as the Helvetia Art Prize. Helvetia, which also insures art, has one of the most important collections of contemporary Swiss art dating back 80 years. The collection focuses on painting, drawings and photography. Since 2015, Helvetia has had its own exhibition space, the Helvetia Art Foyer, which is open to the public. At the end of May 2024, the Helvetia Art Foyer opened a new exhibition space at the Helvetia Campus in Basel, where either thematic exhibitions, which include works from Helvetia's own collection, or solo presentations by artists are shown.  

Contact information

Eric Zeller

Senior Communication Manager / Porte-parole