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The Prince Claus Awards honour outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development. The awards are presented annually to individuals, groups and organisations whose cultural actions have a positive impact on the development of their societies.
On 2 December 2015, HRH Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands presented the Principal Prince Claus Award to Iranian photographer Newsha Tavakolian. The Prince Claus Fund honoured 10 additional artists and cultural role models for their pioneering work in culture and development. All 2015 Laureates received their Award at a ceremony held in the presence of members of the Dutch Royal Family at the Royal Palace Amsterdam.
2015 Principal Prince Claus Laureate
Newsha Tavakolian, photojournalist and artist
Newsha Tavakolian (1981, Iran) is a self-taught photographer who combines photojournalism and art to offer new insights into the lived experience of people in Iran and the wider Middle East region. One of the first professional female photojournalists in Iran, her work ranges from bold reportage of political events to sensitive portraits and evocative series on subjects such as the insecurity of middle-class youth, female Kurdish fighters or the impact of sanctions on individual lives. The aesthetic and intellectual qualities of Tavakolian’s stills, videos, installations and photobooks question stereotypes and inspire young photographers across the Middle East.
From 27 November 2015 – 4 March 2016, The Prince Claus Fund Gallery in Amsterdam exhibits works by Principal Laureate Newsha Tavakolian. The show "I know why the rebel sings" is curated by Vali Mahlouji.
2015 Prince Claus Laureates
Latif Al-Ani (1932, Iraq), photographer
Latif Al-Ani is a prolific photographer who has uniquely documented the vibrancy of life in the Middle East and created a vitally important memory bank for the people of Iraq. His dedicated and meticulous record of everyday life between the 1950s and the 1970s – prior to the devastation of the Gulf War – is a unique historical resource and a vivid testimony of the nation’s spirit, achievements and cultured ethos.
Amakhosi (1980, Zimbabwe), theatre and cultural organisation
Amakhosi is a dynamic theatre group with an open, community-oriented approach. Based in a marginalised region, it empowers and uplifts it’s audiences through humorous and perceptive performances on crucial issues, and provides training, rehearsal space and opportunities in theatre, dance, music, film and arts management.
Jelili Atiku (1968, Nigeria), performance artist
A pioneer of contemporary performance art in Nigeria, Jelili Atiku has developed an innovative fusion of Yoruba and international performance practices. Taking to the streets of Lagos or taking over specific sites with his striking costumes and dynamic presentations, he provokes community dialogue and debate on local, national and global issues.
Jean-Pierre Bekolo (1966, Cameroon), filmmaker
Jean-Pierre Bekolo’s genre-bending films are upending cinematic conventions. His oeuvre ranges from sci-fi erotic thrillers and razor-sharp political satire to insightful documentaries on African cultural icons. Through dramatic aesthetics and deep socio-political content, his films offer fresh perspectives on Africa and African philosophies.
Etcetera (1997, Argentina/Chile), public-art collective
Etcetera takes performance art to the streets, using cutting humour, confusion and surprise to challenge Latin American and global politics, addressing topics like the War on Terror, torture and financial crises. The group’s unconventional actions in public spaces stimulate audience participation and mobilise individuals and communities.
Perhat Khaliq (1982, China), musician and singer-songwriter
Perhat Khaliq is a self-taught musician and charismatic performer whose combination of traditional Uyghur music and contemporary rock and blues have catapulted him to stardom in China. His rich voice and poetic lyrics are making minority culture accessible to millions, while also conserving and expanding a unique cultural heritage.
Fatos Lubonja (1951, Albania), writer, editor & public intellectual
Independent and consistently objective in his analysis, Fatos Lubonja is a leading critical voice in his country. His writings offer lucid exposés of events in Albania’s recent history. A regular contributor to newspapers and television commentary, and editor and publisher of a critical journal, he tackles sensitive issues and fearlessly speaks truth to power.
Ossama Mohammed (1954, Syria), filmmaker
Ossama Mohammed’s bold films examine power, conflict and humanity. He has played a central role in Syria’s film and film production scene for several decades. Through diverse, innovative methods, from dramatic satire to, reflections from exile and street recordings, he creates unflinching, profound and poetic insights into the Syrian context.
Oksana Shatalova (1972, Kazakhstan), visual artist, critic and curator
Oksana Shatalova is a key figure in advancing the visual arts in Central Asia. Committed to cultural development, her writings, as well as her teaching and mentoring of young artists and mounting of cutting-edge exhibitions open new avenues for discourse and creativity. Shatalova’s artworks provide critical feminist perspectives and witty social commentary on life in Central Asia.
Y’en a Marre (2011, Senegal), collective of hip-hop musicians and journalists
This lively group of young rappers and writers known as Y’en a Marre (“Fed Up”) motivates peaceful social change. The group’s efforts to mobilize the youth vote brought 300,000 new voters to Senegal’s historic 2012 elections. Its rap songs on democracy and civil rights reach a wide audience through community concerts, radio, mobile phone and the internet, stimulating civic responsibility and inspiring community action in Senegal and in the region.
2015 Prince Claus Awards Committee
Bregtje van der Haak (Chair), Filmmaker and Journalist, the Netherlands
Suad Amiry, Architect and Writer, Palestine
Salah Hassan, Professor of African Art History and Visual Culture, Sudan / USA
Kettly Mars, Writer, Haiti
Ong Keng Sen, Theatre Producer and Artistic Director, Singapore
Gabriela Salgado, Independent Curator, Argentina / UK
Fariba Derakhshani (Secretary), Awards Programme Coordinator, the Netherlands
The Prince Claus Fund honoured
Newsha Tavakolian and
10 more artists for their pioneering work
in culture and development.
The Award Ceremony took place at
the Royal Palace, Amsterdam
2 December 2015