Principal Award presented to Pan-African Magazine Chimurenga

Her Majesty the Queen, HRH Prince Willem Alexander and HRH Princess Máxima, HRH Prince Friso, HRH Princess Mabel, HRH Prince Constantijn and HRH Princess Laurentien attended the presentation of the Prince Claus Awards on Wednesday 14 December in the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. HRH Prince Constantijn presented the Principal Prince Claus Award 2011 to the first Pan African magazine Chimurenga, which plays an important role in breaking taboos throughout the continent. Ten other artists, thinkers, journalists and organisations from countries that include Tibet/China, Zimbabwe and Kazakhstan were also  honoured for their dedication to culture and development.

Upon presenting the Principal Prince Claus Award 2011, Prince Constantijn said: ‘The independent mind, daring to aspire for change and inspiring others, is what is feared most by oppressive governments. Why? Because people can truly make a difference by showing civil courage. This was a bit of a mantra for my father. After living under two dictatorships in Germany and in the Dominican Republic, he was convinced of people’s duty to show ‘Zivil Courage’.

In remembering him, we celebrate today: the courage to speak up, to perform, and express. The Prince Claus  Awards provide a stage to acknowledge the exceptional work of organisations and people who make a real difference. They contribute to culture, and through culture. In doing so, they offer - in their own small or grand manner - new pathways for hope and development.’ 

Scroll down to download and read the whole speech by HRH Prince Constantijn.

And (if you can read Dutch) scroll down to the links and visit the blog Tsering Woeser, 2011 Prince Claus Laureate and blogger from Tibet, writes for NRC.

Principal Award presented to Pan-African Magazine Chimurenga

"new pathways for hope and development through culture"

HRH Prince Constantijn at the presentation of the Awards

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2011 Jury Report (Nederlands) pdf - 0.13 MB

2011 Jury Report (Nederlands)

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2011 Jury Report (English) pdf - 0.13 MB

2011 Jury Report (English)

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Dutch press release 2011 Prince Claus Awards pdf - 0.33 MB

Dutch press release 2011 Prince Claus Awards

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English Press Release Prince Claus Awards 2011 pdf - 0.35 MB

English Press Release Prince Claus Awards 2011

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French Press release Prince Claus Awards 2011 pdf - 0.34 MB

French Press release Prince Claus Awards 2011

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Spanish Press release Prince Claus Awards 2011 pdf - 0.36 MB

Spanish Press release Prince Claus Awards 2011

Prince Claus Awards

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The Prince Claus Awards honour outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development. The awards are presented annually to 11 individuals or organisations whose cultural actions have a positive impact on the development of their societies.

Chimurenga & Ntone Edjabe

Chimurenga & Ntone Edjabe

Chimurenga (“Struggle for Freedom”) is a Pan-African publication on culture, art and politics. It is an innovative platform for free ideas and political reflection by Africans about Africa. Its founder, the writer and DJ Ntone Edjabe, grew up in Cameroon, studied in Nigeria and is now based in South Africa. Chimurenga is published each month online and is distributed two to three times a year both in Africa and elsewhere. The Chimurenga Library, a unique collection of independent African cultural magazines, is available online and also in the form of a travelling exhibition. Chimurenga frequently collaborates with other media such as the Pan-African Space Station, which comprises a series of performances and radio broadcasts that focus on new African music. Ntone Edjabe and Chimurenga are honoured for the outstanding quality, originality and impact of their productions, for challenging established definitions and segregations of knowledge and expression, for stimulating Pan African culture and development in a global context of rising xenophobia, and for their unwavering commitment to intellectual autonomy, diversity and freedom.

Said Atabekov

Said Atabekov

Said Atabekov Kazakhstan/Uzbekistan Said Atabekov (1965, Bez Terek, Uzbekistan) is an intensely perceptive visual artist and a key figure in contemporary cultural expression in Central Asia. Graduating from Shymkent Art College, where he continues to teach and organise exhibitions of upcoming artists, he was a founding member of the influential Red Tractor collective, which took advantage of Perestroika to experiment with international modernism. A witness of successive waves of social and political change in an area that is the battleground of at least four strong ideologies – nomadic pantheism, Russian, oriental and Islam, western capitalism – Atabekov explores the intersections and local impact of often-conflicting cultures, skilfully identifying and animating elements that reveal the deeper paradoxes. His video Bosphorus Prayer (2007) offers a new ritual combining Christian and Muslim gestures. His 2001 photo series The Way to Rome, ironically echoing Marco Polo’s trajectory, captures local encounters with globalisation, for example, a military tank in a field of western symbols of death, remembrance and heroin profits – poppies. In Neon Paradise (2004), a neo-shaman kneels and bows before automatic doors, both activating and responding to their opening and closing. Comic at first, it provides trenchant comment on worship, stereotypes and notions of progress and modernity. Interrogating migration and recurring cultural invasions, and revitalising the vocabulary of nomadic textiles, the shaman’s cloak Atabekov wears in performances is a patchwork of local embroideries, Soviet and American military cloth, printed slogans and oriental fabrics; his installation Flags (2006) comprises nomadic blankets decorated with the emblems of European nationalism reworked in fabrics printed with arabesques; and Made in Chinizkhan/New Uniforms for the US Army (2007) is a reversible coat with alternate army camouflage or local patterns. Said Atabekov is honoured for the poetry, depth and boldness of his artistic practice, for pushing boundaries and opening up new perspectives in a difficult transcultural context, for stimulating and fostering younger generations, and for his significant contribution to developing cultural expression across Central Asia.

The Book Café

The Book Café

The Book Café (launched 1997, Harare) is a vibrant platform for free cultural expression in a country suffering decades of political and economic upheavals, repressive laws, stringent censorship and a lack of cultural infrastructure. Operating under the umbrella of the Pamberi Trust, with creative director Paul Brickhill (1958-2014), managing director Steve Khosa and a dedicated team of staff, this unassuming café and bar presents more than 600 cultural events a year to enthusiastic capacity audiences of people from all racial and cultural groups and all sectors of Zimbabwean society. Its open door policy welcomes all genres and disciplines as well as new fusions and experiments. Live performances encompass spoken word, poetry slams, stand-up comedy, literary readings, drama and all types of music, from traditional mbira, blues and jazz to hip hop and rap. It has developed strong links with the African music scene, frequently organising exchanges and hosting visiting musicians including stars such as Abdullah Ibrahim. Many of its performers, like Chiwoniso Maraire, have gone on to develop international careers. The Book Café runs artistic workshops and practical training programmes throughout the year, and provides access to rehearsal space and equipment. It emphasises gender equality and youth development, running special initiatives such as FLAME (Female Literary, Arts and Music Enterprise) to promote women in the arts, and BOCAPA (Book Café Academy of Performing Arts) open-mic sessions which are well-subscribed opportunities for new talent. Home to Zimbabwe’s thriving movement of protest poets, the Book Café is renowned for debates on current issues such as land justice or journalistic ethics, and for staging often controversial performances. The Book Café is awarded for its exemplary support of culture and development in Zimbabwe, for the diversity, quality and wide reaching impact of its activities, for stimulating creativity and fostering aspiring young talent, and for its tenacity and commitment in upholding freedom of expression in a difficult context.

Nidia Bustos

Nidia Bustos

Nidia Bustos Nicaragua Nidia Bustos (1952, Nicaragua) is an inspirational leader whose work over more than 31 years has empowered campesinos (peasant farmers) to develop their communities through cultural activities. Campesino cultural groups were repressed by the brutal Somoza regime (1936-79) and following the successful Sandinista revolution, Bustos recognised their potential in rebuilding and sustaining rural communities. In 1980 she founded MECATE (Campesino Movement for Artistic and Theatrical Expression) to organise and support village-based performing arts groups completely staffed and run by campesinos. Drawing on their cultural heritage, the campesinos create narratives, songs and poems, and devise costumes and props using minimal resources. Their improvised dramas attract the entire community, providing humour and entertainment as they raise awareness and provoke discussion on relevant issues such as reforestation, malaria prevention, local impact of trade agreements, trickery of land speculators or the latest agricultural techniques. The performances affirm local values and identity, encourage self-expression, provide a means for addressing difficult issues and confronting injustices, and stimulate communal confidence and pride, building social cohesion. MECATE has grown to include more than 80 theatre and music groups. It organises regional meetings, workshops, exchanges and touring campaigns in solidarity at difficult periods in the campesinos’ year or on topics of special interest, initiates collaborative projects and runs national events such as poetry competitions and festivals of campesino music. MECATE documents cultural forms and innovations, publishes poems, songs and stories in booklets and magazines, and acts as a bridge between rural communities and urban agencies. MECATE’s director and motivator, Nidia Bustos is also a member of Fundación Luciérnaga, a non-profit organisation that works in communication for development. Nidia Bustos is honoured for her generosity and self-effacing dedication to the empowerment and self-realisation of campesino communities, for revitalising, modernising and fostering pride in indigenous cultures, and for her profoundly beneficial impact on social and cultural development in Nicaragua.

Rena Effendi

Rena Effendi

Rena Effendi Azerbaijan Rena Effendi (1977, Baku) is a singular young photographer whose work provides moving insight into human lives in zones of silence. She apprenticed herself to a photographer at a time when it was an unusual activity for a woman in Baku, and her earliest series – portraits of her neighbours displaced and disempowered by the money-laundering, oil-fuelled construction boom rapidly reducing the area to an urban nightmare of high-rise blocks and pollution – reveals her primary concern with individual experience and her ability to go beyond the surface. Two qualities in particular pervade Rena Effendi’s images: a deep sense of empathy, and a quiet celebration of the strength of the human spirit. Her series entitled Pipedreams: A Chronicle of Lives Along the Pipeline is the result of six years of work capturing the devastating social and environmental impact of the oil industry on people’s lives. In House of Happiness (the retained Soviet-era name of the local marriage registry), she portrays individual dilemmas in a community undergoing a revival of Islamic traditions including forced marriage and polygamy, within the wider globalising Central Asian context characterised by prostitution and heroin trafficking. Her portfolio conveys loss, injury and moments of despair in post-conflict Georgia; the dream of acceptance and the struggle to live in the marginalised conditions of Istanbul’s transgender community; and survival in extreme circumstances in Chernobyl: Still Life in the Zone, which offers striking portraits of the few remaining inhabitants, mostly elderly women who lived through Stalin’s famine, Nazi occupation and nuclear disaster, and continue with determination and ingenuity in the ‘Zone of Alienation’ and make it home. Rena Effendi is honoured for her remarkable portraits of individual lived experiences in zones of silence, for documenting the social impact of rampant, profit-driven ‘development’, for raising awareness of social realities in contexts that require developmental support, and for her eloquent testimony to human dignity and resilience.

Regina  Galindo

Regina Galindo

Regina Galindo Guatemala Regina Galindo (1974, Guatemala City) is a radical and compelling performance artist who confronts violence, oppression and injustice. Who can erase the traces? (2003) was performed to protest Guatemala’s Constitutional Court allowing former brutal dictator Rios Montt to stand as a presidential candidate. Carrying a bowl of human blood in which she repeatedly dipped her feet, Galindo walked from the National Palace to the steps of the Constitutional Court leaving a trail of bloody footprints to symbolise the hundreds of thousands of murdered civilians. It was a profound and powerful act demonstrating the persistence of memory and it raised strong public response. Galindo uses her body as a metaphor for the collective social body, and subjects it to acts that resonate and reflect specific local and international instances of human rights abuse, violent crime, economic injustice and political chicanery. In a work addressing the widespread disrespect for human life, We don’t lose anything by being born (2000), she was drugged, put in a plastic bag and dumped at the local rubbish heap. In Hermana (2010), the unjust, discriminatory Guatemalan social hierarchies were dramatically reversed. The hypocrisy of male-dominated societies was highlighted in Recorte Por La Línea (2005), in which the areas of Galindo’s body that would need to be altered to meet current male requirements were marked up by a plastic surgeon, and in Hymenoplastia (2004), when she underwent the operation alongside women who had to have their hymens restored in order to get married and girls being sex trafficked as virgins to attract higher prices. Regina Galindo is honoured for transforming personal rage at injustice into powerful public acts that demand response, for disrupting ignorance and complacency to bring us closer to the experience of others, for her courage, honesty and commitment to social development in Guatemala, and for the liberating impact and relevance of her work for all levels of societies around the world.

Ilkhom Theatre

Ilkhom Theatre

Ilkhom Theatre Uzbekistan Ilkhom Theatre is a remarkable artistic collective operating an independent space for creative expression in Tashkent. It was founded in 1976, during the period of Perestroika, by charismatic director Mark Weil and a group of fellow graduates of Tashkent’s Theatre Arts Institute. Arising from their desire for new ideas, Ilkhom’s works combine contemporary forms and techniques with elements drawn from Tashkent’s rich performing arts legacy, reviving local street theatre, improvisation, minstrelsy and clowning traditions. A multi-ethnic company mixing languages, integrating Russian, oriental and western cultures, and giving voice to the experiences of ordinary people, Ilkhom exemplifies diversity and tolerance, and offers a counter-discourse to sanctioned narratives. Its productions are a mix of world classics, re-interpretations of historic material and original works rooted in Uzbekistan’s history and specificities. The sexuality and nudity in Ilkhom’s 1990s production of Oscar Wilde’s Salome shocked even the cosmopolitan Uzbek elite and raised debate on Central Asian values. Among its own outstanding creations is Ecstasy with a Pomegranate, based on the life of a Russian painter sent to Tashkent in 1916-17 who converted to Sufi Islam and immersed himself in local culture, especially the Bacha dance, a unique form pre-Soviet Uzbek culture. It explores identity, religion, homosexuality, and the transitions from Imperial to Soviet Russia and from fantasy to reality, as well as integrating visual artwork, documentary materials and multimedia elements. Ilkhom runs a School of Drama providing an eclectic training for young actors, organises international tours and collaborations, is the centre of an active network of artists in other cultural disciplines, and serves as an umbrella for other independent arts initiatives. Ilkhom Theatre is honoured for the high quality of its dramatic productions, for creating a space of freedom in a zone of silence, for nurturing and inspiring the younger generations in Uzbekistan, and for upholding the role of theatre as a means of opening minds and stimulating development.

Kettly Mars

Kettly Mars

Kettly Mars Haiti Kettly Mars (1958, Port-au-Prince) is a bold and evocative writer who offers fresh insights on contemporary realities and a vibrant, nuanced exposé of Haitian society. Her first published writings were sensual and erotically charged poems highlighting the centrality of nature, the body and sexuality in human lives. The clarity and honesty, with which she approached these sensitive subjects that are circumscribed in many cultures, continue in her concise, atmospheric short stories and in her richly layered novels exploring the multiple, intersections of class, race, gender, spirituality, violence and power relations. Though firmly grounded in Haiti’s particularities, her concerns are universal. Kasale (2003) portrays the spiritual impasses experienced in daily struggles and what it means to be human in increasingly difficult circumstances. L’heure hybride (2005) explores homosexuality, a son’s love for his mother, her work as a prostitute and the pull of contradictory impulses and conflicting inner narratives. Fado (2008) looks unflinchingly at the lives of the poor and marginalised, and the hybrid conditions they have to negotiate, through the experience of a prostitute. Her most recent novel, Saisons sauvages (2010), is an examination of life under the Duvalier regime, the intertwining of power and sexuality, and the human consequences of the social intricacies and survival mechanisms necessary in authoritarian environments. Her characters, who often go against societal norms, raising questions of what is acceptable and why, are seen with a compassionate eye. Currently working on an anthology of Haitian women writers from the 18th century to the present, and an active participant in literary events, Mars has written passionately on the importance of community and solidarity in the post-earthquake context. Kettly Mars is honoured for putting the universality of the human condition at the centre of her work, for sharing the rich complexities of her country’s realities through her writing, for her daring treatment of unconventional subjects, and for giving an important new impulse to Haitian literature.

Rabih  Mroué

Rabih Mroué

Rabih Mroué Lebanon Rabih Mroué (1967, Beirut) is a challenging visual and performance artist, whose practice investigates truth and fiction, and the mechanisms, varieties and social implications of fabricating ‘truth’. Founded on the Lebanese experience of civil war and its aftermath, his work is highly relevant in the current global context. Mroué’s plays, performances, videos and installations draw audiences into personal experience of assessing truth. They include Looking for a Missing Employee (2003), which presents the mass of rumours, accusations and false reports in official government evidence; Photo-Romance (2006), examining censorship and civil courage in totalitarian contexts; and The Inhabitants of Images (2009), an encounter with the generation of political mythologies. Three Posters (2000) shows a discovered tape of a suicide fighter recording three different versions of his final testimony, and international responses to that work in the post 9/11 situation and the role of media images are presented in On Three Posters (2004). In How Nancy Wished that Everything Was an April Fool’s Joke (2007), four fighters from different factions give sincere accounts of the battle that killed them, but as their memories diverge and contradictions mount it becomes impossible to tell which side they were on, let alone decipher ‘history’. I, The Undersigned (2007) presents Mroué’s apology for his part in the civil war, which includes ‘not being kidnapped or assassinated’, and interrogates the range of fabrications surrounding responsibility and patriotism. Meticulously conceived and staged, Mroué’s works are more often than not joint artistic productions with his partner, Lina Saneh. Mroué also holds several visiting professorships, is contributing editor of The Drama Review and the Lebanese quarterly Kalamon, and is a co-founder of the Beirut Art Centre. Rabih Mroué is awarded for his radical interrogation of memory, power and the construction of truth, for creating direct audience encounters with and methods for analysing the instability of meaning, for stimulating critical social engagement by exposing and opening up discussion on sensitive issues, and for offering a moral voice emphasising individual responsibility.

Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation

Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation

Riwaq Palestine Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation (founded 1991, Ramallah) is making an irreplaceable contribution to Palestinian society through the protection and reinvigoration of endangered cultural heritage. Its practical actions in shaping the built environment have highly significant political and symbolic value in a context of military occupation involving physical and psychological aggression. Riwaq’s researchers have compiled a detailed registry of historic buildings in the West Bank and Gaza and a unique collection of photographs, maps and architectural materials. Using this essential planning tool, Riwaq has completed more than 100 restoration projects, including renovation of major sites and monuments in Jerusalem’s Old City and rehabilitation of historic streets and public structures in Bethlehem. Taking vernacular architecture as a primary focus, it restores traditional domestic houses and reuses them as models to encourage further private efforts. Community involvement in Riwaq’s projects creates much-needed employment in often rural or marginalised areas, and the integrated ongoing training in restoration skills and revival of traditional building techniques and materials contribute to participants’ personal development. Riwaq ensures re-use of all renovated buildings, transforming many into educational, cultural and other facilities of benefit to the community. As well as actively lobbying government on the need for national policies, Riwaq is involved in developing a legal framework for heritage protection. It runs extensive community education programmes with an emphasis on field trips and workshops for the younger generations. Wider outreach is achieved through the Riwaq biennales involving local and international participants in on-site installations and public debates, and through their growing list of publications such as The Palestinian Village Home and The Architectural Heritage of Gaza. Riwaq is awarded for its significant achievements in preserving and reinvigorating sites of historical and architectural significance, for linking cultural heritage with community development and economic opportunities, for nourishing collective memory and strengthening Palestinian identity, and for its daring and pioneering work in a context marked by conflict and military occupation.

Tsering  Woeser

Tsering Woeser

Tsering Woeser Tibet/China Tsering Woeser (1966, Lhasa) is a courageous Tibetan writer, who offers unique perspectives on the complexities of Tibet today. The daughter of Communist Party members, her father an officer in the People’s Liberation Army, Woeser was educated, and writes, in Mandarin Chinese. Following literary studies, she was posted to Lhasa as editor of the journal Tibetan Literature and began to uncover her true heritage. In Tibet Above (1999), Woeser published poems exploring her Tibetan identity. Her next book, Notes on Tibet (2003), addressing cultural and political issues more directly and critically through portraits of Tibetan lives, was banned; she lost her job and all social benefits but resolved to use words as her weapon and to record Tibet’s past and present. Moving to the greater anonymity of Beijing, she used the internet to publish increasingly explicit commentaries on the arrest and torture of Tibetans – the appealing literary qualities of her writing conveying her message all the more effectively. Woeser’s concern with Tibetan culture continued in articles on contemporary painting, film and literature, and in groundbreaking books including Forbidden Memory: Tibet During the Cultural Revolution (2006), which combines her father’s photographs of the period with eyewitness accounts she gathered through interviews. During the mass demonstrations against Chinese rule and violent crackdown in 2008, Woeser’s blogs became the main source of information for the world. Relaying details from her contacts in Tibet, she posted daily reports on the protests, human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings. Woeser has undergone house arrest and harassment, her websites have been closed down, her movements are restricted and her life under constant surveillance, but she continues to write about Tibet from inside China. Woeser is honoured for her courage in speaking for those who are silenced and oppressed, for her compelling combination of literary quality and political reportage, for recording, articulating and supporting Tibetan culture, and for her active commitment to self-determination, freedom and development in Tibet.

Principal Award presented to Pan-African Magazine Chimurenga

Her Majesty the Queen, HRH Prince Willem Alexander and HRH Princess Máxima, HRH Prince Friso, HRH Princess Mabel, HRH Prince Constantijn and HRH Princess Laurentien attended the presentation of the Prince Claus Awards on Wednesday 14 December in the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. HRH Prince Constantijn presented the Principal Prince Claus Award 2011 to the first Pan African magazine Chimurenga,...

 
 
 
 

Principal Award presented to Pan-African Magazine Chimurenga

Her Majesty the Queen, HRH Prince Willem Alexander and HRH Princess Máxima, HRH Prince Friso, HRH Princess Mabel, HRH Prince Constantijn and HRH Princess Laurentien attended the presentation of the Prince Claus Awards on Wednesday 14 December in the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. HRH Prince Constantijn presented the Principal Prince Claus Award 2011 to the first Pan African magazine Chimurenga,...