The Prince Claus Fund’s 2012 Principal Award has been granted to Eloísa Cartonera. This Argentinian non-profit publishing house creates handmade books of outstanding aesthetic and literary quality from waste material.
Ten other artists, thinkers, filmmakers and organisations from countries that include Syria, Burma and Somaliland are also being honoured for their dedication to culture and development. On 12 December, HRH Prince Constantijn will present the Principal Award at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam.
Among the 2012 laureates is 69 years old renowned Somaliland poet Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame, alias Hadrawi, honoured for his profound and beautiful poems that not only enrich the centuries-old Somali poetry tradition, build bridges and promote peace.
Eloísa Cartonera (established in 2003, Buenos Aires) is a graphic arts and publishing co-operative of handmade books made of recycled materials. The materials are collected by cartoneros, or ‘cardboard people’, unemployed who tried to survive after Argentina’s political and economic collapse in 2001.
Drawn to Eloísa’s social solidarity, both established and emerging Latin American writers, donate short stories, novels, and other forms of literature. The collective, small-scale method produces books that are much cheaper than conventional paperbacks. It provides income and cultural benefit to many at all levels of Argentinean society: readers, rubbish collectors, authors and artists.
Eloísa Cartonera transformed ‘the book’ from an unattainable object into a widely accessible source of pleasure, knowledge and self development. The relevance and impact of the cartonera model even transcends borders. More than 60 independent cartonera publishers are currently operating in countries across Latin America and one has started in Mozambique. Also, now that the current economic crisis has hit Argentina again, their message is even more urgent.
2012 Prince Claus Principal Award
“Prince Claus Fund stimulates the freedom of cultural expression”
Ten Laureates of 2012 Prince Claus Awards
Sami Ben Gharbia, Tunisia (1967, Tunis) is an innovative cyber-activist who works mainly through social media.
M/s Habiba Djahnine, Algeriais a respected writer and filmmaker whose main focus is documentary cinema directed to an accurate portrayal of Algerian realities.
Yassin al Haj Saleh, Syria (1961, Raqqa) is a writer, public intellectual and voice of reasoned analysis in the midst of the current Syrian crisis.
M/s Widad Kawar, Jordan
The passion and commitment of collector Widad Kawar (1931, Tulkarem) rescued and preserved important cultural heritage that otherwise would have been lost forever. Her superb collection consists of more than 2,000 examples of the textile artistry of Palestinian, Jordanian, Syrian, Bedouin and other Arab cultures.
Teresa Margolles, Mexico
Teresa Margolles (1963, Culiacán, Sinaloa) is a radical and challenging visual artist who examines the social causes and consequences of death through powerful artworks.
Boniface Mwangi, Kenya
Boniface Mwangi (1983, Taveta) is a self-taught photojournalist and exemplary photo-activist, determined to reduce violence and build peace through culture.
Phare Ponleu Selpak, Cambodia
The active Phare Ponleu Selpak (1994, Battambang) is a far-reaching cultural organisation that empowers youth and successfully integrates local traditions with new ideas to uplift, support and enrich post-conflict Cambodia and the Khmer culture.
Ian Randle, Jamaica
The pioneering Ian Randle (1940, Hanover) transformed the knowledge production and circulation in the Caribbean through his first local independent publishing house.
Maung Thura, alias Zarganar, Burma
The charismatic performer, comedian and social activist Maung Thura (Yangon, 1961), stage name Zarganar (‘tweezers’), uses humour as a potent weapon in the struggle against tyranny and injustice.
Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame, alias Hadraawi, Somaliland
The profound and beautiful poems of Maxamed Ibraahim Warsame (1943, Togdheer) enrich the centuries-old Somali poetry tradition, build bridges and promote peace.
The Prince Claus Fund
The Prince Claus Fund was inaugurated in 1996, named in honor of Prince Claus of The Netherlands. It receives an annual subsidy from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Fund has presented the international Prince Claus Awards annually since 1997 to honor individuals and organizations reflecting a progressive and contemporary approach to the themes of culture and development. Recipients are mainly located in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
The Prince Claus Awards
Honorees are determined by a jury of honorary chairmen who are experts from fields relevant to its mission of culture and development.
The most important consideration of the jury is the positive effect of a laureate’s work on a wider cultural or social field. The Prince Claus Fund interprets culture in a broad sense to encompass all kinds of artistic and intellectual disciplines, science, media and education. Outstanding quality is an essential condition for an award.
The Principal Award of € 100,000 is presented during a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam in December every year. The additional awards of € 25,000 each are presented in the Dutch embassies in the countries where the recipients live in December and January