lunes, 6 de septiembre de 2010


Report from the 2010 Prince Claus Awards Committee
June 2010

The Prince Claus Awards
The Prince Claus Fund’s Awards Programme celebrates and brings to
public attention outstanding achievements in the field of culture and
development. Awards are given annually to individuals, groups,
organisations or institutions in recognition of their contribution
within the Prince Claus Fund’s areas of interest.
Each year in December, the Principal Prince Claus Award of EUR 100,000
is presented to the Principal Laureate at a prestigious venue in
Amsterdam in the presence of members of the Royal family and an
audience of 600 international guests. The Prince Claus Awards of EUR
25,000 are presented to the recipients in their respective countries
by the Netherlands Ambassadors.

Participants in the Fund’s expanding network of colleagues, partners
and experts in relevant fields are invited to nominate candidates for
the annual Prince Claus Awards, and are requested to provide insights
and give second opinions on potential laureates.
A total of 98 nominations were received for the 2010 Prince Claus
Awards. Research and documentation on these nominations was
considered at a first meeting of the 2010 Prince Claus Awards
Committee on 17 and 18 December 2009. A short list was established and
the staff of the Fund’s Bureau then carried out further research and
gathered extensive second opinions from advisors in the Fund’s
network. On 20-21 May 2010, the Awards Committee met again for
in-depth assessment of the short-listed candidates and the selection
of 11 recommended recipients of the 2010 Prince Claus Awards.

2010 Prince Claus Awards Committee
Peter Geschiere (Chair), Professor of Anthropology, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
N’Goné Fall, Curator, Architect, Cultural Consultant, Dakar, Senegal /
Paris, France
Rahul Mehrotra, Architect, Urban Designer, Professor of Architecture,
Mumbai, India / Cambridge, USA
Laksmi Pamuntjak, Poet, Writer, Jakarta, Indonesia
José Roca, Curator, Bogota, Colombia
Fariba de Bruin-Derakhshani is Secretary to the Committee.

Criteria and considerations
The Prince Claus Awards are presented to artists, intellectuals and
cultural operators in recognition of their outstanding achievements
and contributions in the field of culture and development. The awards
are given to individuals, groups and organisations around the globe,
but primarily in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Quality is a sine qua non for a Prince Claus Award. The quality of a
laureate’s work is assessed in professional and personal contexts and
for its positive impact on wider cultural and social fields. The
creation of interactions and links between different cultures, the
fostering of commonalities and the initiation of shared cultural
currents are highly valued. The Prince Claus Awards recognise artistic
and intellectual qualities that are relevant in the contemporary
context. They legitimise experimentation and innovation, recognise
audacity and tenacity, support inspirational developments and seek to
enhance their beneficial impact on societies.

The Prince Claus Fund maintains a broad view of culture that
accommodates all types of artistic and intellectual disciplines. This
open approach encompasses the transmission of culture and achievements
in education, media and the applied arts. It includes fields such as
science and technology that interact with and impact on the domain of
culture and development. Proposals from every cultural field and area
of potential are welcomed. The Fund seeks originality, experimentation
and groundbreaking initiatives. Mutual exchange, interculturality and
the transcending of borders are high on the Fund’s agenda, and it has
a keen interest in vocabularies and vernaculars that develop into
universal languages linking people in different cultures.
The Prince Claus Fund aims to provide protection to culture in places
where it is threatened and to explore ‘zones of silence’. The Fund
continues its interest in previous themes, such as Humour and Satire,
Culture and Nature, the Positive Results of Asylum and Migration, and
Creating Spaces of Freedom.

2010 Theme: Frontiers of Reality
Frontiers of Reality is a crucial theme for contemporary culture and
development. Perceptions of reality vary according to our knowledge
and the cultural, political and social environment in which we live.
In former times, notions of reality were relatively established,
stabilised by fixed conventions and perspectives limited by time and
distance. Information about events and the impact of discoveries
filtered slowly into societies, and the borders and edges of reality
altered gradually. Today, new technologies and media provide increased
and accelerated access, spreading information quickly and bringing
voices from previously isolated or repressed groups. Many new versions
of reality are surfacing. It is the collage of this collective
experience that really makes our world so we need to assimilate and
make sense of these new perspectives.
At the same time, the universal human desire for security and
stability tends to resist knowledge that challenges established
definitions of reality. Communities and societies develop diverse
ways, both subtle and overt, of restricting and limiting alternative
views. The drive for dominance and power leads to aggressive and life
threatening control of the frontiers of reality. Discrimination,
censorship, criminalisation of expression, media distortion,
propaganda, border controls, travel restrictions and militarisation
are forms of reality control.
People who work at the frontiers, often in difficult or dangerous
contexts, are instrumental in bringing attention to different
experiences and cultural ideas. Their explorations and practices break
through current limits. In selecting the theme of Frontiers of
Reality, the Prince Claus Fund aims to honour those who open up
different perceptions and make significant contributions to the
construction of new knowledge, better understanding, empowerment and
greater equity – essential factors for local and global development
and stability.

Recommendations for the 2010 Prince Claus Awards

The 2010 Principal Prince Claus Award

Barzakh Editions

Barzakh Editions is a remarkable independent publishing house that has
created a platform for a new generation of Algerian writers ¬and
opened a door for the flow of ideas between Algeria and the world.
Founded in 2000, in the aftermath of crisis and a context of cultural
isolation, economic crises and political violence, its name refers to
an intermediate zone where souls are in transit, where personal
realities are confronted and assessed against other realities. Many
Algerian writers had emigrated during the conflicts of the past
decades and the remaining writers had few possibilities. Connections
with neighbouring countries were limited. Most Algerian literature was
published in France, Lebanon or Egypt, expensive to import and thus
beyond the reach of the majority in Algeria. During this particularly
harsh period when it seemed that the country would become increasingly
isolated, Barzakh Editions succeeded in creating a space between an
authoritarian state and a powerful Islamist movement that seemed to
hold the country in a deadlock. Driven by a passion for books and a
conviction that freedom of thought and expression are essential for
development, co-founding editors Sofiane Hadjadj and Selma Hellal
began to make the work of local and exiled authors accessible and
affordable, to encourage creativity and experimentation, and to
provide publishing opportunities for local authors, both the
established and new voices.
Barzakh Editions has published more than 110 books of consistently
high quality in both content and presentation. Novels and poetry are
primary fields, alongside a range of genres and subjects such as
philosophy, urbanism, photography, theatre, social history, biography,
political essays and artists’ catalogues. Barzakh has succeeded in
breaking through restrictive frontiers that seemed to close up the
country and limit the space for cultural exchange in various ways.
Through its collaborations with French publishers, works by
Algeria-based authors are translated into French and Italian for wide
distribution. Barzakh publishes authors from francophone sub-Saharan
Africa and Arabic translations of French literature. It has developed
networks and exchanges with Arab, African and European countries, and
fosters the local audience through discussions, poetry readings and
art exhibitions.
The Principal Prince Claus Award honours Barzakh Editions for giving
concrete form to Algeria’s voices, for opening up a much needed space
for critical reflection on Algerian realities, for building a bridge
connecting different languages and cultures, and for creatively
breaking through the threatening cultural isolation of the country.

Ten 2010 Prince Claus Awards

Decolonizing Architecture institute (DAi)

Decolonizing Architecture institute’s unique practice is dedicated to
the identification of architecture’s role as a central tool in spatial
power relations and in the making of conflict. It seeks to subvert and
propose new ways for the re-use of architecture’s dominating
potential. The work has significant implications for citizens,
strategists and policymakers in diverse regions and contexts around
the world, and is contributing to a new perspective on urban planning
and innovative methodologies for the processes of reclaiming spaces.
Founded in 2007, DAi is run by scholars, activists and architects
Sandi Hilal, Eyal Weizman and Alessandro Petti, as a residency
involving local and international practitioners. Looking forward to
the future evacuation of colonising forces from Palestinian
territories, Decolonizing Architecture offers practical possibilities
for their re-appropriation. Its materials document various methods of
dismantling and re-formulating Israeli settlements and military bases.
Drawings and projections show how spaces can be transformed, and
models also provide evidence in legal process. People can relate to
these visual representations and are empowered to imagine the
reconfiguration of their devastated environment. DAi’s plans reflect
both the place of refuge and site of origin, and offer visions for the
restoration of historical sites. Spreading their ideas through
exhibitions, lectures, videos and publications, DAi challenges
individuals and communities to think and plan for an unthreatening
built environment.
Decolonizing Architecture is honoured for introducing a
non-traditional approach to development in conflict and post-conflict
situations, for providing valuable speculation on the future realities
of disputed territories, for its critical challenge to outdated urban
planning theories based on a more peaceful world, and for highlighting
the role of architecture and visualisation in creating and altering
the frontiers of reality.

Maya Goded

Photographer Maya Goded (Mexico City, 1967) creates subtle images of
hidden or shunned communities. Her first project, Tierra Negra (1994),
is a collection of moments from her three-year sojourn with Mexicans
of African descent, a group whose contribution to Mexican identity is
seldom acknowledged. Goded was then drawn to investigate female
sexuality, prostitution, tenderness and gender violence in a society
that defines women’s roles strictly and maintains notions of womanhood
wreathed in myths of purity, fragility and motherhood. Her five years
of intense interaction and work with prostitutes and pimps in Mexico
City are published in Plaza de Soledad (2006) and Good Girls (2007).
Her nine books to date include sensitive studies of the grief of
relatives of murdered and sexually abused women, the conditions of
traditional healers, and the endurance needed to attain socially
defined beauty.
Goded’s images are imbued with unusual intimacy and genuine presence
that spring from mutual trust established over a long period of time.
This bond is evident in the body language she captures, creating
empathy in the viewer. She explores people living in harsh situations
constructed around notions of power and control – both the strong,
whose refusal to conform threatens established norms, and the
vulnerable, whose lives are distorted by social prescription. Each
image is accompanied by the name of the person portrayed and a few
telling details that foster a sense of connection.
Maya Goded is honoured for her profound and intimate photography, for
challenging preconceptions and giving unique insight into little-known
realities, and for celebrating otherness and human commonalities that
transcend socially constructed barriers.

Jia Zhang-Ke

Filmmaker Jia Zhang-Ke (1970, Fenyang) breaks away from previous
generations’ historical dramas and political idealisations to convey
other kinds of realities. He depicts episodes in the life and
loyalties of a teenage pickpocket (Xiao Wu, 1997); working conditions
and workers facing unemployment, aging and broken state promises (24
City, 2008); the displaced and soon-to-be displaced figuring out how
to proceed as public buildings are demolished, houses submerge under
the rising waters of the Three Gorges Dam and human ties are stretched
to the limit (Still Life, 2006). The realities of home, belonging and
security for ordinary people in China unfold in parallel narratives
amid the demolition of social fabric and the erasure of memory and
connection in the name of economic progress.
Jia combines humanistic realism with striking aesthetics and rich
cultural texture. He uses local people and professional actors,
dialects, on-site sounds, improvisation and interpretive imagination
to express individual experiences as realistically as possible. A
master of the long shot that gradually fills with subtle gestures and
details, Jia makes time palpable and delights in ironies and
allusions: a spaceship lift-off, a tightrope-walker between
high-rises. He captures universal human experiences that exist
regardless of context, and shows Chinese ways of coping, maintaining
deeply held values, surviving with the quiet dignity, restraint and
resourcefulness of the ‘still living’.
Jia Zhang-Ke is honoured for the outstanding aesthetic and
intellectual qualities of his work, for his committed social
engagement in focusing on the realities of ordinary contemporary
lives, for his significant contribution to local cultural identity and
confidence, and for creatively transcending and altering the frontiers
of reality.

Gulnara Kasmalieva & Muratbek Djumaliev

Gulnara Kasmalieva (1960, Bishek) and Muratbek Djumaliev (1965,
Bishek) are cultural catalysts in the Central Asian region, which is
in many respects a Zone of Silence. Their practice embodies the
transition from a deeply rooted tradition of art making towards the
use of contemporary languages. Graduates of Kyrgyz State College of
Fine Art, they accessed international ideas when studying in Russia
during the period of perestroika. Returning to Bishek they
experimented with new technologies and developed documentary-style
videos and photography that provide unprecedented representations of
Kyrgyzstan’s passage to independence and the impact of Soviet-era
legacies on life and identity.
Their extensive practice includes the seminal video installation A New
Silk Road: Algorithm of Survival and Hope (2006), documenting
contemporary experiences along the historical trade route as it
encounters rapid globalisation. They weave different perspectives
together, picking up on popular visual culture, showing local
reinvention and adaptations, and bringing the new nation-states
together in an innovative exposé of intersecting frontiers of reality.
At ArtEast, the cultural centre they run in Bishek, Kasmalieva and
Djumaliev are active as curators and leaders with a mission to
stimulate the next generation. They provide gallery space for regional
and international exhibitions, courses in contemporary theory,
practice and art management, access to media equipment, workshops,
networking and collaborations, enabling young artists to get in touch
with artists, curators and critics in other contexts.
Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev are awarded for their
groundbreaking art practices, for their significant contribution to
contemporary culture in Central Asia, for establishing a space of
freedom and opportunity for young artists, and for creating original
representations of the intersections of different realities.

Kwani Trust

Kwani Trust is revolutionising creative literary production in Kenya
and across Anglophone Africa. Starting in 2003, it launched an
independent literary journal, Kwani? (Swahili for ‘So what?’), to
challenge the institutionalised academic control of authorship and
entrenched literary conventions of an older generation. Kwani’s
editors, Binyavanga Wainaina and Billy Kahura, actively encourage new
talent, original sensibilities and creative use of language. Poetry
has a strong presence, alongside humour and slang. The wide range of
stories, personal narratives and commentaries reflect day-to-day
realities, exploring topics such as urbanisation, relationships,
ethnicity, injustice and politics. The pool of contributors is
constantly expanding and includes writers from many African countries.
Positive response to the journal led to a variety of popular
activities: Poetry Open Mic, a monthly performance event; Sunday Salon
Nairobi, a prose reading series; writers’ forums, public debates,
workshops and competitions; and the annual Kwani? Literary Festival,
which features continental and global cultural figures.
Kwani Trust publishes short-story collections and books such as The
Life and Times of Richard Onyango (a Kenyan artist) and Kenya Burning
(a visual narrative of 2007 post-election violence). Recognising the
economic constraints of local readers, it also produces affordable
pocket-sized editions and distributes literature from other African
countries. It uses new technologies to reach wider audiences, has
built a global network and facilitates local participation in
international events.
Kwani Trust is honoured for establishing a dynamic platform for new
African voices and perspectives, for its progressive influence and
energetic dedication to developing a supportive environment for
literary expression, and for crossing social and cultural frontiers to
expose new facets of reality.

Dinh Q. Lê

Visual artist Dinh Q. Lê (1968, Ha-Tien) is the co-founder of two
transformative institutions that are opening up possibilities for
Vietnamese artists. The Vietnam Foundation for the Arts is a Los
Angeles-based centre that counteracts isolation through exchanges and
collaboration. And Sàn Art, the first independent not-for-profit art
space in Ho Chi Minh City, runs local and international exhibitions,
residencies, projects, a reading room, discussions, lectures and
networking opportunities.
Brought up in Vietnam during the American war, Dinh Q. Lê moved to
the USA aged 10. Surrounded by Hollywood and western media
interpretations of his homeland, he studied and began his art
practice. He devised an innovative technique based on Vietnamese craft
heritage, literally and metaphorically weaving images and fragments
into complex combinations of different traditions, histories and
modernities. These ‘surreal memory landscapes’ dramatically portray
the schizophrenic realities of exiles and migrants.
Returning to Vietnam, aged 25, he continues his explorations of
contradictory realities. The Farmers and the Helicopter (2006), a
documentary video on passionate local desire to recreate the iconic
destroyer of Vietnam’s traumatic past, contrasts with South China Sea
Pishkun (2009), a 3D animation of the mass crashing of helicopters
into the South China Sea during America’s panicked retreat from Saigon
– the Vietnamese view still widely unknown. Other works examine
genocide, consumerist glitz in disadvantaged places, and the promotion
of Vietnam as idyllic paradise for tourists.
The Prince Claus Award honours Dinh Q. Lê for his strong creative work
exploring different constructions of reality, for providing
inspiration and practical opportunities for young artists, and for
advancing free thought and contemporary visual expression in a context
of indifference and hostility.

Ana Maria Machado

Ana Maria Machado (1941, Rio de Janeiro) creates compelling children’s
stories that deal with prejudices and human rights. She developed a
passion for storytelling during her traditional rural upbringing,
studied humanities, became a visual artist and curator, was arrested
and exiled during the dictatorship, completed a PhD in linguistics and
semiotics, lectured and worked as journalist. The author of more than
100 books, translated into 11 languages, she opened the first
children’s literature bookshop in Brazil.
Machado shares a way of looking at the world that is original, funny
and poetic. She has a mother’s faith in the child’s imagination, an
ear for natural patterns of everyday spoken language and a painter’s
eye for colour, composition and detail. Her experiments with narrative
structure, symbolic language and combinations of the real and the
fantastic are evidence of her consummate mastery of the writer’s
craft. Above all, Machado is able to express complex concepts with
skilful simplicity and subtle passion. Edged with excitement, tension
and humour, the intriguing scenarios she creates become personal
encounters with difficult subjects such as racism, gender
discrimination, poverty and identity. Machado interrogates Brazil’s
historical memory, bringing past experiences alive as part of everyday
life in a way that appeals to children. In From Another World (2005),
her characters and the readers confront the realities of slavery
through the unquiet ghost of a slave girl who seeks their help.
Presenting distilled wisdom in an unpretentious style, her stories
encompass understanding of difference, courage in the face of tyranny
and respect for others, and insist on delight and the joy of living.
Ana Maria Machado is awarded for her outstanding children’s
literature, for opening frontiers of reality for young people and
communicating essential human values to impressionable minds and
hearts, and for her significant contribution to recognition of the
importance of children’s literature in the formation of worldviews.

Mehrdad Oskouei

Independent filmmaker Mehrdad Oskouei (Tehran, 1969) penetrates
subaltern segments of Iranian society to give voice to unknown
perspectives, challenge preconceptions and offer unique readings of
people’s lives and experiences. Graduating from Tehran’s University of
Arts, he started in theatre and short fiction films before turning
towards realistic reporting. He has developed a hybrid cinematic
language that combines documentary, poetic and dramatic sensibilities,
enabling him to convey the multiple layers of reality.
Oskouei’s personal concern and commitment to the people he films
creates trust, which is the vital spark in his works. In The Other
Side of the Burka (2004), an investigation of high female suicide
rates in a patriarchal enclave in southern Iran, he achieves an
unprecedented degree of openness. The women tell their own stories,
describe their suffering and discuss their situation with honesty and
clarity in close-up face-to-face interviews; documentary facts ¬of the
women’s rooms, work, routines and the community rituals enacted to
deal with symptoms are interwoven with evocative metaphors and moments
of psychological pain, the glimpse of a shoulder, the corpse beneath
the burial cloth.
His 24 films offer in-depth encounters with orphans, widowers and
juvenile delinquents, and examine Iranian experience of broken homes,
rhinoplasty and urban youth cultures. Passionate about the role of
film in social development, Oskouei founded the Short Film Society and
runs workshops to stimulate young filmmakers.
Mehrdad Oskouei is honoured for his moving, informative and evocative
films, for his honest engagement with his subjects and his commitment
to accurately representing their concerns, and for working in
difficult contexts to break down prejudice and generate social

Yoani Sánchez

Yoani Sánchez (1975, Havana) is a leading figure in the use of social
networking technologies to breach imposed frontiers. A graduate in
philology, she is now dedicated to computer sciences and their
capacity to alter perceptions and generate social change. She works as
a webmaster, columnist and editor for Desde Cuba, an online news
portal. Determined to promote freedom of information and to speak out
regardless of danger, in 2007, Yoani Sánchez set up a blog, Generation
Her regular posts offer punchy accounts of the day-to-day environment.
Avoiding direct criticism and global politics, her blog provides
subjective insights into the practical difficulties people face.
Emphasising the vital importance of material autonomy for any form of
active citizenship, her subjects include unaffordable food, shortage
of proteins and vegetables, the turgid proceedings of parliament and
the lack of meaningful reforms.
Sánchez operates in a context of strict control and censorship,
working clandestinely, under threat of arrest. Local access to
internet is limited and filters set up by the authorities slow and
block connection to Generation Y. Local supporters circulate her
writings in emails and USB memories, and volunteers translate her
Spanish reports into 22 languages. Generation Y’s growth has been
exponential. It is now one of the most-followed blogs in cyberspace,
and a compilation has been published as Cuba Libre.
Yoani Sánchez is awarded for raising global awareness of daily Cuban
realities through her blog, for her inspiring and courageous example
in giving a voice to the silenced, and for demonstrating the immense
impact internet communications technologies can have as tools for
social change and development.

Aung Zaw

Aung Zaw (1968) is the founder and director of The Irrawaddy, the most
reliable source of information on realities in Burma. A committed
pro-democracy activist, he started in student politics, setting up an
underground network to organise resistance to authoritarian rule in
1987. He was arrested and released several times, tortured during
interrogation and, following the military coup in 1988, went into
exile in Thailand.
Recognising the urgency of keeping channels of communication open
between Burma and the world, Aung Zaw founded the Burma Information
Group to document human rights violations, lobby for democracy and
provide information to international newspapers and human rights
organisations. In 1993 he launched The Irrawaddy, the first
independent publication on Burma and the most significant resource for
up-to-date news on the situation. As editor and contributor he has
built up an extraordinary network of trusted sources on the ground,
inside one of the world’s most repressive states. In 2000, he set up
the website to increase access. Published in Burmese and English, The
Irrawaddy is officially banned and the website is largely blocked in a
context of almost total control and surveillance of media and
information. Dedicated to democracy for all, and to objective
journalism, Aung Zaw remains unaffiliated to any political group and
he has recently expanded coverage to related regional developments.
Aung Zaw is honoured for his active dedication to achieving democratic
government in Burma, for building such a valuable resource for
exposing realities that those in power want to hide, for maintaining
the flow of ideas and upholding freedom of information, and for his
inspiring role in transgressing the containment of violently enforced
political boundaries.

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