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  • Sep 09, 2019

2019 Prince Claus Laureates Announced

Thai filmmaker

On September 5, the Prince Claus Fund announced the six 2019 Prince Claus Laureates. Among them is Anocha Suwichakornpong. Informed by the sociopolitical history of her birth country, the Thai filmmaker’s works have gained widespread recognition. She became the first woman to receive the Thailand National Film Association Award for Best Director in 2017, with her second feature-length film, By the Time it Gets Dark (2016), which deals with the legacy of the 1976 Thammasat University massacre, where hundreds of pro-democracy student protestors were murdered by the Thai military. According to the Prince Claus Awards Committee, Anocha is being honored as a laureate for “her beautiful, compelling and thought-provoking films [as well as] for courageously and convincingly challenging hegemonic practices and established conventions, both in filmmaking and in society.”

The 2019 Principal Prince Claus Award went to Sudanese visual artist Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, whose practice is centered around the immaterial facets of women’s lives in Sudan, Africa, and the Arab worlds. She was selected for her “deep exploration of women’s experience and her creative ingenuity in forging a non-sexist metaphysical art that gives women a new image in a male-dominated society.” In addition to a cash award of USD 110,447, her solo exhibition “Women in Crystal Cubes,” will open on October 31 at the Prince Claus Fund Gallery.

The other winners include Ambulante, a Mexican documentary film organization with the aim to offer screenings and film training to rural and indigenous communities; Nigerian architect, Mariam Kamara, whose designs are committed to entitling Muslim women to greater liberty of movement; multidisciplinary artist Bill Kouélany who founded Les Ateliers Sahm in Congo-Brazzaville, dedicated to empowering female and emerging artists; and author and leading activist of the Afro-Brazilian women’s rights movement, Djamila Ribeiro.

Regarding the line-up of winners, Joumana El Zein Khoury, director of the Prince Claus Fund, commented: “The Laureates this year put exceptional women front and center. The nominations received and the Awards Committee’s final selection of 2019 Laureates just reinforce the fact that women are increasingly at the forefront of innovation, ground-breaking thought and creative initiatives.”

The international Awards Committee comprised curator and visual artist Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi; director of the EYE Film Museum in the Netherlands, Sandra den Hamer; Indian visual artist and filmmaker Amar Kanwar; American academic Tejumola Olaniyan; program coordinator and secretary of the Awards, Fariba Derakhshani; and Peruvian architect and urbanist Manuel de Rivero.  

Founded in 1996, the Prince Claus Awards are given annually to individuals, groups and organizations based in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean for their significant contributions to the field of culture and development. Previous principal laureates include Chinese environmentalist Ma Jun, Brazilian-French documentary filmmaker Vincent Carelli, Thai artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and Iranian photojournalist and visual artist Newsha Tavakolian, among others.

An award ceremony celebrating the 2019 laureates will be held at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam on December 4.

Evelyn Goh is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.

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