|USA / UK / Norway:
Deeyah, the exiled Norwegian singer and activist, was awarded with an ArtVenture Freedom to Create Prize at a ceremony in London on 26 November 2008.
More than 900 artists from 86 countries had been nominated. Three artists, Deeyah along with Turkish-Kurdish Ferhat Tunç and Burmese Win Maw, nominated by Freemuse, all made it to the final shortlist of five in their respective categories.
The main prize category was awarded to the Zimbabwean playwright Cont Mhlanga — a fierce opponent of the Mugabe regime. Deeyah was awarded 10,000 US dollars as third place winner, which gives her a financial opportunity to continue her work for freedom of expression.
The prize recognizes artists who use their talents in promoting empathy and understanding and confronting discrimination and oppression.
Deeyah was nominated by Freemuse for her two of her major productions — ‘Sisterhood’ and the video ‘What will it be’.
Exiled in the USA, Deeyah finds the The ArtVenture Freedom to Create Prize a wonderful and inspiring initiative.
“The belief in change through artistic expression is near and dear to me. I am very very appreciative of the work of groups like ArtVenture and Freemuse, and I thank you for your necessary work and for your encouragement and support.”
At the prize ceremony in London Carlos Reyes-Manzo said: “Deeyah is an important voice telling us what happens round the world to women.”
About the Freedom to Create Prize
The prize ceremony was attended by leading representatives of human rights organisations working with artistic freedom of expression, artists and members of the jury. The ArtVenture Freedom to Create Prize consisted of three categories. The winner of the main prize was awarded 50,000 US dollars.
The ArtVenture Freedom to Create Youth Prize open to artists and oargnisations working with young people under the age of 18 was given to Brazilian hip hop collective ‘City of Rhyme’.
45 years in prison
Of all nominating organisations Freemuse was the only human rights organisations which succeeded geting all of its nominees to the shortlist.
Says Freemuse Executive Director, Marie Korpe:
The organisers of the event declared in a statement: