May 20, 2018

2017 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture presented to four laureates













9 May 2017, Paradiso, Amsterdam: On Europe Day, the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) presented the 2017 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture to four laureates: writer and columnist Aslı Erdoğan, writer and scholar Navid Kermani, musician Luc Mishalle and visual artist Marina Naprushkina. All four laureates—who represent different generations, different parts of Europe and different cultural approaches— are exceptional artists and thinkers, and have shown great courage in imagining and reshaping society in the 21st century. “Our time needs heroes like the laureates we honour here today,” said HRH Princess Laurentien, President of ECF.

Attended by more than 560 international guests, the award ceremony was hosted by ECF’s Director Katherine Watson at Paradiso, Amsterdam. The laureates received the award from HRH Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, which includes a sum of EUR 20.000 per laureate.

Hope and conversation

In her opening speech, HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands touched on what these four very different laureates share: hope and conversation. “The work of the four laureates and many other cultural change-makers across Europe show, cultural expressions can visualize and discuss sentiments of fear and despair and differences in opinions and backgrounds in ways that regular public discourses cannot. By using the power of creativity and imagination, we step out of our own sentiments. (…) By holding ‘missing conversations’, we hope that people dare to step over their own shadow and freely share concerns and dilemmas. The four laureates facilitate dialogues based on mutual trust, peel off problems to their core.”

She concluded: “Our time needs heroes like the laureates we honour here today. Their courage and perseverance show us that as an individual, you can make a difference. It’s like throwing a stone in the middle of a pond: at first, the movement is only in the centre but very soon it ripples out to the edges.”

Culture opens minds

On behalf of the international jury artistic leader of Holland Festival Ruth Mackenzie praised this year’s laureates, who were chosen from a shortlist of candidates nominated by experts and cultural makers from across Europe. The laureates dare to hope for a brighter future, for which the jury commends them. “The tireless efforts of cultural beacons such as Aslı, Navid, Luc and Marina and the people they work with, inspire us with hope: they breathe life into the idea that culture can contribute to an opening of minds to that which is different, without falling prey to fragmentation. The European Cultural Foundation, my fellow jury members and I hope that this award will amplify their already astonishing work, and that it will aid a gradual and wider appreciation of culture beyond its preconceived limits.”

A moving word of thanks

After the Awards were presented by Princess Margriet, the laureates took the floor to say a word of thanks. Laureate Aslı Erdoğan, was unable to travel abroad and attend the ceremony. She was represented by her French publisher, Timour Muhidine. He read her moving acceptance speech, in which she dedicated her Award to silent victims all over the world: “I have dedicated a lifetime of writing to voice the wound, the void and the victim. Hence, I dedicate my Award to the silent screams of all victims, those within us too… Without their screams and stories, our word, hence our world will be even more devoid of meaning.”

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On the picture the laureates welcomed by TRH Princess Margriet and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, and ECF Director Katherine Watson.(back, left to right): Rien van Gendt (Deputy Chair ECF Board), Luc Mishalle, Katherine Watson (Director ECF) (front, left to right): Timour Muhidine, Navid Kermani, HRH Princess Laurentien, HRH Princess Margriet, Görgün Taner (Chair ECF Board), Marina Naprushkina. Photography by Xander Remkes.



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