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2007 UNESCO Visual Arts and Digital Arts Award 


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Lida Abdul "Brick sellers of Kabul" ©UNESCO

The UNESCO Prize for the Promotion of the Arts 2007 was awarded at the 8th Sharjah Biennale: “STILL LIFE - Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change”.  On this occasion, two categories of the UNESCO Prize, the biennial visual arts and the annually awarded new technologies applied to art (digital arts), were given within the framework of the Biennale.

The visual arts category (US $20,000) was selected among the works/installations presented at the Biennale (4 April - 4 June 2007, Sharjah, UAE), where the International Jury had gathered to undertake the final selection. The double prize winner of Lida Abdul (Afghanistan) and Lara Almarcegui (Spain) were awarded during the Opening Ceremony of the Biennale on 4 April in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi and the UNESCO International Jury.

As a combination of a video and photographs setting, the allegorical work of Lida Abdul "Brick sellers of Kabul" was selected for its rich visual and esthetical quality, which responds effectively to the notion of social and human ecology while dealing with specific issues of relevance to humanity at large, such as children’s work, isolation of ruins, destruction. Based on a contextual research of urban development surrounding an abandoned village near Sharjah, Lara Almarcegui’s "Demolitions, Wastelands, Empty Lots" demonstrates a unique response to the Biennale’s topic for its engagement with the social and urban context of Sharjah as well as for the implication of the city inhabitants and their history through an artistic project.

The prize for the digital arts category (US $10,000) was given to the Brazilian artist group Coletivo Madeirista, who were nominated among 56 submissions by the International Jury through an online selection process prior to the Sharjah Biennale. The prize-winning project “The Shadows Inventory" was especially appreciated by the Jury for its strong aspect in social participation displaying an open gallery of public art, as well as for its creative expressions on urban dynamics through the use of digital technology.

In relation to the UNESCO “digital arts” Prize and in collaboration with the UNESCO DigiArts team, the following institutions - freeDimensional (USA), Cultural Association Casa das Caldeiras (Brazil), Sante Fe Art Institute (USA), Guapamacatara Hacienda Residency (Mexico) – have made a generous offer to provide artist-visitor programmes to the Prize winner and Sara Heitlinger/Franc Purg (UK/Australia/Slovenia), Mariela Yeregui (Argentina).

The UNESCO Prize for the Promotion of the Arts, initiated by Mr Kaii Higashiyama, a reputed master of Japanese traditional painting, is awarded in recognition of outstanding creative achievements of young artists or groups of artists in the fields of the visual arts, the performing arts and new technologies, to encourage their future development as artists. An International Jury, composed of the following prominent personalities from different geo-cultural regions, was appointed by the Director-General of UNESCO to conduct the evaluation and selection of the Prize.

1. Ms Berni Searle (South Africa), video artist using mixed media
2. Mr Abdellah Karroum (Morocco), Director of L’appartement 22
3. Ms Soh Yeong Roh (Republic of Korea), Director of Art Centre Nabi
4. Mr Jean Gagnon (Canada), Executive Director at Daniel Langlois Foundation
5. Mr Eugenio Tisselli Vélez (Mexico), researcher in physical interface design and multimedia software development
Ms Tereza Wagner, UNESCO Prize Coordinator, also participated in the jury deliberation.

UNESCO Prize for the Promotion of the Arts – Visual Arts:

UNESCO Prize for the Promotion of the Arts –Digital Arts

Publication Date 14 May 2007

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