Prix Pictet Winners to Show at Musée de l’Elysée

May 20, 2010 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Events | Comment | |
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The Prix Pictet and Musée de l’Elysée will present the first exhibition of the two winners of the main award, Benoit Aquin and Nadav Kander, and the two commissioned artists, Munem Wasif and Ed Kashi. Aquin and Kashi will exhibit work made this year in Haiti and Madagascar respectively, while Kander and Wasif will show work made in China and Bangladesh. The exhibition at the Musée de l’Elysée’s - taking place from 18 June to 25 July - is part of the museum’s 25th Anniversary celebration.

Press Release

Prix Pictet winners to show at Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne
The Prix Pictet and Musée de l’Elysée will present the first exhibition of the two winners of the main award, Benoit Aquin and Nadav Kander, and the two commissioned artists, Munem Wasif and Ed Kashi.

Espace Arlaud, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, 18 June – 25 July 2010.
Nuit de l’Elysée, Friday 18 June, from 6 – 8 pm.

The exhibition at the Musée d’Elysée will show an outstanding collection of photographs by the Prix Pictet winners to date. Together, they will present a powerful testament to the fragile state of our world. Aquin and Kashi will exhibit work made this year in Haiti and Madagascar respectively, while Kander and Wasif will show work made in China and Bangladesh.

The Prix Pictet is the world’s first prize dedicated to photography and sustainability. Launched by the Geneva-based private bank Pictet & Cie in 2008, the Prix Pictet has rapidly established itself as the world’s leading prize in photography and sustainability. It has a unique mandate – to use the power of photography to communicate vital messages to a global audience.

As Kofi Annan, the Prix Pictet’s Honorary President, says in his recent forward to Earth – the book of the 2009 Prix Pictet, ‘together, these photographs by the artists shortlisted for the Prix Pictet highlight the beauty of the earth we share. But they also expose the damage, deliberately or carelessly, we are inflicting on our own environment. So these images are a celebration and a reminder of the urgent need to change our ways.’

The prize currently plays to a global audience of over 400 million. The exhibition of photographs by the twelve artists shortlisted for the second award has been touring the world since it opened in Paris at the end of October 2009. It has so far been seen in Dubai, Thessaloniki, Eindhoven and Dublin and it is scheduled to visit Moscow, Lausanne, Berlin and Madrid.

The exhibition at the Musée de l’Elysée’s is part of the museum’s 25th Anniversary celebration, which also coincides with a change in the Directorship of the museum. Sam Stourdzé will succeed William Ewing, who has been Director for 14 years, and to mark this, the directors have collaborated for a season of exhibitions across two sites: the Espace Arlaud and the Musée de l’Elysée.

Commenting on the collaboration between the Prix Pictet, incoming director Sam Stourdzé says, ‘The Musée de l’Elysée is delighted to start a collaboration with the Prix Pictet. In two years, the Prix Pictet has established its reputation as a major force in the photography world.  It bears the hallmark of quality and is a critically acclaimed prize. Its aim is to enable contemporary photography to confront the public with the challenges of sustainable development. This is a commitment that Musée de l’Elysée shares with the Prix. We too believe that art can help us reiterate the necessity to consider, on a global scale, the environmental consequences of our economic developments. The works by the Prix Pictet Winners – Benoit Aquin, Nadav Kander, Ed Kashi and Munem Wasif – are the best ambassadors.’

The Artists

Benoit Aquin (Canada, 1963), Winner - Water
October 30th 2009, Aquin won the Prix Pictet for his series The Chinese Dust Bowl which shows probably the largest conversion of productive land into sand anywhere in the world. Since winning the award, Aquin has continued to develop work that is an artistic response to the pressing social and environmental challenges of our times. For the exhibition at the Musée d’Elysée Aquin will show new work from his recent Haiti series (2010). This series captures the despair of the earthquake which left over 200,000 people dead. Speaking about Haiti, Aquin said: ‘The catastrophe in Haiti opens our eyes to the need for sustainable planning and development. It took a disaster, but every element of sustainability (or lack thereof) became visible on a global scale. And, global warming was never in the mix of potential causes. It was all caused by the way people didn’t think or act – the underlying requirements for sustainability.’ Benoit Aquin is a photojournalist and landscape photographer, exploring large-scale environmental issues and their impact on humanity. He has exhibited in major photographic events in Canada, and his work is part of the collection in the Canadian Contemporary Photography Museum. His photographs have been featured in publications worldwide.

Munem Wasif (Bangladesh, 1983), Water Commission
Wasif was shortlisted for his series Climate Refugee of Bangladesh, which documents the Bangladeshi refugees who have been displaced by extreme water events in the form of severe floods, droughts and heat waves. Wasif was awarded the Water Commission for which he produced the series Salt Water Tears: Lives Left Behind in Satkhira, Bangladesh. This was shot on location in South-West Bangladesh, where Pictet was supporting the work of WaterAid. Wasif has worked as a photojournalist for the Daily Star, a leading English daily in Bangladesh, DrikNEWS and Agence VU’. His photographs have been published in numerous national and international publications including Le Monde and Forum. He won an “Honorable Mention” in the 2007 All Roads Photography Program by the National Geographic Society. His global exhibitions portfolio includes the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Japan and Getty Image Gallery in England.

Nadav Kander (Israel, 1961), Winner - Earth
Kander won the second Prix Pictet for his series Yangtze, The Long River, which illuminates the devastating effect of breakneck development on the lives and traditions of the people who live alongside China’s longest river. Using the Yangtze as a metaphor for constant change, Kander has photographed the landscape and people along its banks from mouth to source.  More people live on the river’s 6500 km of banks than in America in the USA – more than one in every eighteen people on the planet. However, China’s current programme of development is destroying the country’s heritage and displacing many of its people. Kander is a regular contributor to many international publications, including The New York Times Magazine, for whom he recently documented ‘Obama’s People’. His many international awards and nominations include the Silver Photographer of the Year Award at the Lianzhou International Photo Festival 08 in China.

Ed Kashi (USA, 1957), Earth Commission
Kashi was shortlisted for his series Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta, which takes a graphic look at the profound cost of oil exploitation in West Africa. His work traces the fifty-year impact of Nigeria’s relationship to oil and the resulting environmental degradation and community conflicts that have plagued the region. Kashi was awarded the Earth Commission. Kashi travelled to Madagascar with Azafady, a UK charity supported by Pictet & Cie. His series Madagascar, A Land Out Of Balance highlights many of the issues threatening this island unique and endangered environment. Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker and educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times.  Kashi’s complex imagery has been recognised for its compelling rendering of the human condition, revealing his sensitive eye and an intimate relationship to his subjects.

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