$100k cash US award winner announced!

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Raul De Lara, photo Agaton Strom

Raul De Lara, a sculptor who practises storytelling through woodworking, has been announced as one of this year’s recipients of the Maxwell/Hanrahan Awards in Craft, one of the nation’s largest awards in the field of craft. Raul and four other awardees will each receive an unrestricted US$100k cash prize.

Raised in Mexico, Raul De Lara comes from a family of creatives – with his father being an architect and his mother an interior designer, his early memories are of the wood workshop attached to his parents’ farm. Through his research and practice, De Lara preserves, honours and advances traditional techniques while combining them with new developments in the global industry of woodworking.




Raul De Lara, Soft Chair Series, 2022 – ongoing. Mesquite, Siberian elm, walnut, lacquer, dimensions variable. Photo courtesy of the artist.


Exploring the visual language of mask-making, furniture design, architecture, and nature; De Lara uses traditional hand and power carving techniques to “imbue social, cultural and spiritual qualities into wood”, as he himself puts it. His sculptures explore Mexican/American iconography, queer identity and the immigrant experience – themes that originated within his own background, having moved to the United States from Mexico at age 12 and been a DACA recipient since 2012.




Raul De Lara, Lotion In Your Lungs, 2019. Pine, oak, wood glue, sand from Mexico/US border, acrylic, lacquer, 72 × 24 × 50 inches. Private Collection. Photo courtesy of the artist.

De Lara has an exciting year ahead—he’s currently an artist-in-residence at Silver Art Projects in the World Trade Centre, and recently opened a solo show, Pending Flowers, at Reynolds Gallery in Richmond, VA. Dedicated to the artist’s father, Pending Flowers explores De Lara’s familial relationships and history as a Mexican-American immigrant, marking the artist’s 20th year in the United States. He’s also already gearing up for his next solo exhibition, opening in February 2025, at the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, GA.

Launched by the Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation and administered by United States Artists, the Maxwell-Hanrahan Awards in Craft seek to support craftspeople’s work in ways that recognise the importance of their varied, hands-on explorations of cultural heritage, emerging technologies, materials and trades and the intersections between them.

The complete list of 2024 Awardees includes ceramic sculptor Cristina Córdova, ceramicist Ibrahim Said, glass sculptor Nisha Bansil, sculptor Raul De Lara, and stone sculptor and stained glass artist Thea Alvin.


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