Winners of the Prince Claus Award—given annually by the Amsterdam-based fund to outstanding people and projects from developing nations—were announced today. The recipients are all artists, thinkers and organizations who have demonstrated an ability to add fuel to the creative fire despite limited material and cultural resources.
One of the awardees, Pakistani artist Naiza Khan, has been commended for a multimedia practice that acknowledges moral and social discord—the difference between right and wrong, imbalances between men and women—fostering local discussion with global resonance. In addition to her own artistic pursuits, Khan’s support for young contemporary artists in Pakistan has also been acknowledged. Vasl Artists’ Collective, which she cofounded over a decade ago, has continued to be a vital site for emerging artists.
Another artist, photographer Lu Guang from China, is recognized for his powerful independent voice. Lu’s documentary-style images depict hardships and human-rights violations associated with industrialization in China. With his ability to speak in layman’s terms, Lu’s images have resonated with the Chinese people, and subsequently challenged authorities to take action.
With its experimental, multidisciplinary approach to theater, Teater Garasi / Garasi Performance Institute from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, has also been honored. Established in 1993, Garasi flags a mix of local culture, ancient legend, poetry and politics as points of entry into contemporary society. Rewriting the traditions of theater, they present—as the Prince Claus Fund board has commented—“[a] fresh views on the complex, heterogeneous nature of Indonesian society.”
The principal prize, which comes with an EUR 100,000 award, goes to Egyptian poet, Ahmed Fouad Negm. Negm is known for his lyrical lines that pair Shakespearian-style word play with classical Arabic verse while airing political concerns about Egyptian society. The award committee has praised the 84-year-old poet for his critical body of work that protests abuses of power and hypocrisy.
Other awardees include Zanele Muholi, Carla Fernández, Alejandro Zambra, Oscar Muñoz, Christopher Cozier, Idrissou Mora-Kpaï, and Orquesta de Instrumentos Reciclados Cateura. The 11 artists and organizations will be honored in a ceremony in Amsterdam this coming December.