Beirut ~ Lebanon
Christine Tohme: cultural organiser, Lebanon (b. 1964, Beirut) Christine Tohme founded Ashkal Alwan, the Lebanese Association for the Plastic Arts. It is a non-profit organisation that initiates and supports the production of contemporary artistic practice and provides a grounding for critical reflection and theory with the aim of promoting free thought and critical discourse in Lebanon. Through Ashkal Alwan, Christine Tohme facilitates the making and presentation of excellent contemporary art, including site-specific installations and performance, stimulates interdisciplinary work in all media and promotes a contemporary notion of artistic production. She organises lectures, workshops and an important biannual forum, ‘Home Works’, which focuses on regional cultural issues. Ashkal Alwan publishes a monthly newsletter on local and international cultural events, exhibitions, calls for submissions, conferences, funding opportunities and courses. Christine Tohme’s commitment to writing, book publishing, documentation including DVDs, and archive development is important for developing research, generating debate, stimulating collaborations and partnerships. Dedicated to the expansion of cultural practices, she helps artists to build their careers and introduced the Atlas Group and Akram Zaatari (both from Lebanon), among others, to a wider audience. An important aspect of her achievement is the creation of links within the region and internationally. Through twelve years of consistent and energetic networking she has brought contemporary Lebanese art making to the global platform. The Award honours Christine Tohme for her struggle to stimulate local contemporary art production in difficult circumstances, for creating links with the rest of the world, for her research and for creating possibilities for the next generations.