Following the success of last years inaugural prize, the 2009 Orient Global Freedom to Create Prize
was announced in London. This unique prize honours artists on the frontlines who promote social justice, build foundations for open societies and inspire the human spirit.
Commenting on the launch Orient Global Chairman, Richard F. Chandler, said: History shows that prosperous societies are founded upon creativity. Societies that encourage artistic expression build strong foundations for economic, political and cultural development. They will lead tomorrows world.
He added The Orient Global Freedom to Create Prize celebrates the talent of artists who bring messages of hope to places of turmoil and despair. It also recognises their courage to confront injustice in circumstances where there are visible costs and less visible rewards. They inspire the human spirit and nourish the creativity needed for progress.
The Orient Global Freedom to Create Prize is an international award established in 2008. The Prize consists of three categories: the Main Prize, open to individuals or artistic groups in all creative fields; the Youth Prize, open to artists under the age of 18; and the Imprisoned Artist Prize, focusing on artists who are currently imprisoned for their artwork. The total prize fund is US$ 125,000 which will be divided between the winning artists and their nominated advocacy organisations to further the cause their artwork has highlighted.
The winner of the 2008 Prize was Cont Mhlanga, a controversial Zimbabwean playwright who has risked his life challenging the Mugabe dictatorship for over 25 years. His winning submission was a politically charged satire The Good President, presents a fictionalised account of a ruthless dictator, but closely mirrored recent events in Zimbabwe.
The 2008 Imprisoned Artist Prize winner was Burmese satirist Zarganar, imprisoned for 35 years for mocking the Burmese government in the wake of Cyclone Nargis. The Youth Prize was awarded to City of Rhyme, a hip-hop group from the Brazilian favelas.
Open to all artists, and with just one month to go until the closing date of 14 August, there have already been over 500 entries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. A shortlist will be announced at the beginning of September and judging will take place over the following weeks. This years Prize will be judged by a panel of high profile artists, opinion leaders, and human rights lawyers. Details of these panellists will be announced shortly. The award ceremony will take place in London in November 2009.
The Prize is implemented by ArtAction, a philanthropic organisation established by Orient Global in 2007 to improve lives by harnessing the unique powers and properties of the arts. Since inception, ArtAction has supported over 200 projects in more than 80 countries, improving the lives of an estimated 12 million people