Prince Constantijn, honorary chairman of the Prince Claus Fund, awarded the 2016 Prince Claus Awards on Thursday 15 December in Amsterdam at the Royal Palace in Dam Square. The ceremony was attended by Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima and Their Royal Highnesses Princess Beatrix, Princess Mabel and Prince Constantijn’s wife Princess Laurentien.
Awarded annually since 1997, the Prince Claus Awards are presented by the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development to honour ‘artists, thinkers and cultural organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean,’ whose artistic and cultural work makes a positive contribution to the social development within their country.
The 2016 Prince Claus award was given to Thai filmmaker and artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul for ‘visual richness, spiritual lyricism and intellectual depth of his provocative work. Subtle and yet powerful way he manages to explore the Thai reality and far across to resonate borders. […] He was honored as an inspiring example for others because he remains unconditionally true to his own vision and principles,’ according to the report of the Prince Claus Awards Committee.
From the Prince Claus Fund website:
‘Apichatpong Weerasethakul is an artist and a leader of Thailand’s independent cinema movement. His works subtly address complex social issues and personal politics through mesmerising aesthetics and innovative, non-linear narrative forms. He is also committed to promoting experimental and independent filmmaking in Thailand through his company Kick the Machine Films. Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s work will be exhibited at EYE Film Museum in Amsterdam in September 2017.’
In addition to Apichatpong Weerasethakul, five other winners were also awarded prizes from Prince Constantijn in the ceremony – chef and food activist Kamal Mouzawak, graphic designer, artist and educator Bahia Shehab, architect Vo Trong Nghia, interactive online portal La Silla Vacía and interdisciplinary cultural centre PeaceNicheThe Second Floor.
The Prince Claus Fund was established in 1996 to mark the seventieth birthday of Prince Claus. The guiding principle of the Fund is that culture is a basic need and so its activities seek cooperation in areas where cultural heritage is threatened and which have been identified as having limited resources and opportunities for cultural expression, research and creative production.