Youssou N’Dour and Mikhail Baryshnikov win major award

Youssou N’Dour and Mikhail Baryshnikov are among the five winners of this year’s Praemium Imperiale awards. The awards, organised by the Japan Art Association (JAA), honour outstanding contributions across painting, sculpture, architecture, music and theatre/film.

Senegalese singer N’Dour has been recognised for popularising Senegalese music internationally, creating both traditional folk works and experimental crossover pieces with artists from different backgrounds. As well as releasing successful albums such as Immigrés and Egypt he served as Senegal’s minister for tourism.

Baryshnikov is widely acclaimed as one of the outstanding ballet dancers of the twentieth century. He was also artistic director of American Ballet Theatre from 1980-1989.

Prince Hitachi of Japan will present the awards – which are named in honour of his uncle Prince Takamatsu – at a ceremony in Tokyo on 18 October. Each winner receives a gold meal and JPY15m (€114,000). The other awards went to Shirin Neshat (painting), El Anatsui (sculpture) and Rafael Moneo (architecture).

JAA also announced that Zoukak Theatre Company and Cultural Association will receive its 2017 Grant for Young Artists. The Lebanese company gets JPY5m to assist its work with young artists.