A Nomura bank in Chiba, Japan.

A Nomura bank in Chiba, Japan.
Photo source: Ned Snowman / Shutterstock

On Wednesday, Japanese financial services group Nomura Holdings, Inc. introduced a new contemporary art award. The winner will receive a $1 million reward, making it the largest contemporary art prize in the world.

“Each year, Nomura will present the Nomura Art Award to an artist who has created a body of work of major cultural significance,” the company’s press release reads. “To help this artist take on new challenges and embrace change, the US$1 million prize may be used in whole or part to support an ambitious new project that the winner did not previously have the means to realize.”

Nominees will be selected by a panel of world-renowned art experts, including:

  • Doryun Chong, Chief Curator at the M+ museum in Hong Kong
  • Kathy Halbreich, Executive Director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
  • Yuko Hasegawa, Artistic Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo
  • Max Hollein, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
  • Nicholas Serota, Chair of the Arts Council England
  • Allan Schwartzman, Founder and Principal of Art Agency, Partners, and Chairman of Sotheby’s Fine Arts Division

Nigerian art curator Okwui Enwezor was also listed on the panel, but sadly, he passed away on March 15.

The 2019 Nomura Art Award will be presented for this first time ever this coming October. The ceremony will take place in Shanghai.

In addition to the $1 million prize, Nomura will also be handing out two Emerging Artists Awards. The winners will receive formal recognition and $100,000 to help jumpstart their careers.

The awards were established in honor of Nomura founder Tokushichi Nomura II, an avid art enthusiast and supporter of Noh theater. His long legacy of engagement with the arts inspired the company to create the prizes.