How a Prize Helps
This past weekend, freeDimensional was represented at the Prince Claus Fund for Culture & Development’s annual award ceremony. The ceremony is a great time to meet and network with others working in the fields of culture, free expression and human rights. At the same time, an award ceremony like the Prince Claus Fund’s or the Freedom to Create Awards recently given at the Citadel in Cairo, Egypt are lavish events that cost a lot of money to stage. This begs the question of how does the award, its ceremony and the resulting media help the artist who is doing frontline activism, the culture worker in distress. freeDimensional and the Creative Resistance Fund operate under the assumption that having the international limelight (even for a brief period) can provide a critical awareness (i) to the public about that individual’s situation and conditions in her/his community and (ii) to an oppressive regime that it is not acceptable to harass, threaten or censor the artist and that people, organizations and governments on the outside are watching. In keeping with this belief, we regularly use staff time, capacity and connections to nominate our stakeholders to various awards. For example, we nominated Uzbek photographer Umida Ahkmedova and Iranian cartoonist Kianoush Ramezani to the Freedom to Create Award. Whereas they did not win the award, another fD stakeholder, Owen Maseko (pictured here) was the third place winner, an accolade that came with a $10,000 prize. Similarly, we nominated Taslima Nasreen, Athol Fugard and Naseer Shamma’s Oud School in Cairo to this year’s Prince Claus Fund Award.