Israeli sculptor Yael Erlichman won the President Award at the 2009 Florence Biennale international contemporary art exhibition in Italy where she presented five bronze sculptures. “It was a big surprise… Overall, it was a great pleasure,” she said upon winning the award.

Some 800 artists from 76 countries took part in the biennale, where more than 2,500 works of art were displayed as part of the general exhibition held at the Fortezza da Basso fortress built during the Renaissance.

Erlichman was invited to display her work at the biennale after participating in important exhibitions across the world, including in the United States, Canada and Holland.

Three other Israeli artists who took part in the exhibition were Yael Kaplan (who was ranked fifth in the photography category), painter Patricia Abramovich and sculptor Akiva Huber.

The winning artists were chosen by an international panel of judges. The Florence Biennale, which has been held since 2001, seeks to promote “a dialogue between civilizations.”