The Vilcek Foundation Announces its First Annual Vilcek Prize for Excellence
Being human is not as easy for obviously different reasons, we face challenges and trials every single day. Narrowing it down, now think of being an immigrant? Of course, not each one of us has had to leave home for a faraway land or simply grow up knowing that your roots are not from that particular place you call home – but most of us can relate to what Immigration is.
What I love about life and its beauty, is the fact that it gives us more chances and opportunities to better ourselves. To grow. To bring out the best in us, to accomplish. One song writer Tatiana Manaois sang ‘You got to get up, you got to get up and make a move, ‘cause the world will never see you until you do’, true or true? As an immigrant, one needs to really work hard, to move from a nobody to somebody, which is just as important as adding a few digits right before that zero in your pockets.
Carmen C. Bambach, who is a curator of Italian and Spanish drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (MOMA) was recently named as the recipient of the first annual Vilcek Prize for Excellence - a $ 100,000 grant. For what exactly? Well, the prize is given in recognition of an immigrant, or a US-born immigrant who has made a significant impact on the American society and world culture.
The reason behind Bambach’s win of the Vilcek Prize of Excellence, was to recognize her abilities as an individual. Established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek who are immigrants from Czechoslovakia, the foundation introduced this prize with the purpose of recognizing individuals in different disciplines annually. The prize is to fill up the gaps that were in the foundation’s award program that began in 2006. Marika who also works at the Met says, “Eventually I came to the conclusion that there are certain areas that were not covered, especially for curators, economists, and journalists,”
The renowned renaissance art expert born in Chile specializes in drawings. She has demonstrated the functions of full-scale drawings in the technical process of producing renaissance panel paintings and frescoes. As the current curator of Italian and Spanish drawings at MOMA, she was the organizer and curator of the 2017-2018 Met exhibition - Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer. The exhibition included drawings that had never been in exhibit before, for a once-in-a-lifetime viewing opportunity.
In addition to curating major exhibitions for artists including Bronzino, Correggio, and Parmigianino, Bambach has also been authoring numerous books, catalogues, and over 70 scholarly articles. She has spent 24 years completing a four-volume book on Leonardo da Vinci encompassing his entire output—drawings, paintings, manuscripts – to be published by Yale University Press. Saying that she has not yet made any plans on how to spend the prize money, Bambach acknowledges that it would help greatly with the Leonardo Da Vinci book project.
What do I say? Immigrant or no immigrant, the world will never recognize you until you up your game and actually do something. Not to be ubiquitous but at least be somewhere. Let the world know your name.