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Art What!: Prix Pictet tours ‘Hope’ exhibition to Today Art Museum in Beijing

Prix Pictet, the world’s leading prize for photography and sustainability, will present an exhibition in Beijing for the first time, featuring 12 leading photographers from eight nations shortlisted for the Prix Pictet’s eighth theme of ‘Hope’. The exhibition will run from 15 November – 12 December 2021 at Today Art Museum.

Lucas Foglia
Kenzie in a Crevasse, Juneau Icefield Research Program, Alaska
Every summer since 1946, members of the Program have traversed the Juneau Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the world. This is the longest running study of a glacier in the Western Hemisphere. (2016)

The Prix Pictet aims to harness the power of photography – all genres of photography – to draw global attention to issues of sustainability, especially those concerning the environment. Founded in 2008, the Prix Pictet has become the world’s leading award for photography and sustainability. To date, there have been nine cycles of the award, each of which has highlighted a particular facet of environmental concern. The nine themes are WaterEarthGrowthPowerConsumption, Disorder, Space, Hope and Fire.

Janelle Lynch For You (2017)

Each cycle’s shortlisted artists are selected by a distinguished international jury of highly respected professionals in the field. Photographers nominated for the award are chosen for their artistic merit, as well as the compelling narratives presented through their series of work. As the Prix Pictet enters its 13th year, the award’s influence extends far beyond the field of photography, conveying the importance of environmental protection to global audiences through touring its exhibitions in many major cities around the world.   

Robin Rhode
Principle of Hope (2017)

The exhibition at Today Art Museum presents the work of twelve shortlisted artists for the eighth cycle of Hope, and offers a wide range of creative possibilities as well as a strong set of connections to Prix Pictet’s overriding theme of sustainability. Recycling, reforestation, rewilding, science – advances in medicine – and technological solutions for global environmental problems are just some of the issues explored through an artistic lens. The shortlisted artists examine some of the positive actions on sustainability that are beginning to emerge, in contrast to the alarming analysis that constantly assails us in the global media. Hope in the face of adversity. 

Alexia Webster
Two friends pose for their portrait on the corner of Cornwell and Hercules Street in Woodstock, Cape Town, South Africa. (2011)

The acclaimed exhibition travels from Shanghai and has been exhibited at prestigious global museums including the Gallery of Photography, Dublin; EPFL ArtLab, Lausanne; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Hillside Forum, Tokyo; Eretz Museum in Tel Aviv, Palazzo della Gran Guardia, Verona; and Luma Westbau, Zurich.

The shortlisted photographers for the eighth cycle of Hope are:

Shahidul Alam, born 1955 Bangladesh, based in Dhaka

Joana Choumali, born 1974 Côte d’Ivoire, based in Abidjan

Margaret Courtney-Clarke, born 1949 Namibia, based in Swakopmund

Rena Effendi, born 1977 Azerbaijan, based in Istanbul

Lucas Foglia, born 1983 USA, based in San Francisco

Janelle Lynch, born 1969 USA, based in New York

Ross McDonnell, born 1979 Ireland, based in New York

Gideon Mendel, born 1959 South Africa, based in London

Ivor Prickett, born 1983 Ireland, based in Europe and the Middle East

Robin Rhode, born 1976 South Africa, based in Berlin

Awoiska van der Molen, born 1972 Netherlands, based in Amsterdam

Alexia Webster, born 1979 South Africa, based in New York

The winner of this cycle, under the theme ‘Hope’, was Joana Choumali from Côte d’Ivoire. Her winning series Ça va aller (It will be okay) was taken three weeks after the terrorist attacks in Grand Bassam on Sunday 13th March, 2016.

Ivor Prickett, Civilians line up for aid distribution in the Mamun neighbourhood, Iraq, having remained in west Mosul during the battle to retake the city. (2017)

Jessica Zhang, Director of Today Art Museum celebrates by saying: “We are thrilled to be able to bring the Prix Pictet award and its world-class photography exhibition to Beijing. The theme of ‘Hope’ fully aligns with the Prix Pictet’s core value of driving sustainability and is central to the vision of all shortlisted photographers. Through the exhibition, the public can perceive and contemplate the world from a post-pandemic perspective, finding ‘hope’ through the power of the photographic lens, and encouraging action to protect the planet we call home.”

Rena Effendi, The Borca family build one of the 40 haystacks they make each summer. Maramureş, Romania. (2012)

Stephen Barber, Chair of the Prix Pictet, said: “We are thrilled to have received such positive feedback for our Hope exhibition in Shanghai, and delighted to be able to present the outstanding work of the cycle’s twelve shortlisted artists for the first time in Beijing. Representing the very best of world photography on the urgent topic of sustainability has been our mission for more than a decade with Prix Pictet. The opportunity to tour and share this work with the public in China is a privilege for us, and we hope that our inaugural exhibition will be the first of many to come.”

Margaret Courtney-Clarke, Life is Them
Emsi Tjambiru and Beverly Tjivinde dance on the road near their craft stall to flag down tourist busses.

RongRong & Inri, Photographers and Founders, Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, and Nominators for the Prix Pictet, said: “We are thrilled to be welcoming this exceptional exhibition of Prix Pictet in China. A globally recognised award for our industry, this is where international photographers, curators, writers, and thinkers discuss and deepen understanding of the urgent changes facing humanity today. We support and believe in the power of photography to shift perceptions and inspire action towards a more sustainable future.

Hope exhibits 15th November to 12th December 2021 at at Today Art Museum, Beijing, Building 4, Pingod Community, No.32 Baiziwan Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing. More information available here

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