Carnegie Art Award has been established by Carnegie Investment Bank to promote Nordic contemporary painting and to recognise and support distinguished artists born or living in the Nordic countries. The event initiated in 1998 consists of an exhibition which tours the Nordic countries, a book presenting the participating artists and their works, and awards to three of the artists for their works of SEK 1,000,000, SEK 600,000 and SEK 400,000, as well as a scholarship of SEK 100,000 to a young artist. About 30 experts on Nordic contemporary art each nominate five artists to this distinction. Among the experts are representatives from museums and art schools as well as critics and other specialists on contemporary art in the Nordic countries. Nominated artists are invited to submit up to five works of art. The works have to be produced during the last two years, to capture the current state of Nordic contemporary painting.

A jury consisting of eminent experts selects the works of art to be part of the exhibition. The jury members make the choices solely from the works that have been submitted. They do not pay attention to nationality or gender or to earlier production of the applying artists. The jury also appoints the award winners, based on the works of art in the exhibition.

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