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Ibn Rushd Prize 2019 goes to Bahraini Artist Sara Qaed

Image of Sara Qaid
Sarah Qaid, winner of the Ibn Rushd Prize 2019

The Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought is delighted to announce the Bahraini artist Sara Qaed as winner of the 19th Ibn Rushd Prize for this year’s topic ‘Caricature’. The award ceremony will take place on July 5, 2019 in Berlin, Germany.

In many countries of the Arab World, both present and future are bleak and without much of a chance for the people of taking part in changing their countries’ fates. Caricaturists are triggered by political and economic circumstances, and, through their work, register people’s anger, giving a voice to their protest and their needs – crossing social, educational and cultural barriers. Comics and cartoons, and, more recently, graphic novels, have been thriving in the Arab World, a region where freedom of speech is rare. Opposing dominant views and regimes is severely sanctioned, and making fun of authorities can be a most dangerous enterprise.

The Ibn Rushd Prize 2019 therefore called for:

a caricaturist who criticizes or ridicules political, religious or social leaders and authorities.

Sara Qaed possesses a rare ability to create art ridiculing repressive and authoritarian regimes while bearing strong messages about humanitarian issues such as migration and flight. Her work demonstrates exceptional technical skills and semiotics, which she employs to push caricaturing and cartooning beyond the known format of the art.

Sarah began working as a journalist in 2009 and published her work in local, Arab and International newspapers. An activist, she tried to reach an international audience then as much as now, also through the skilful use of social media. She is also part of a collective to promote the art of caricature, and makes a point about disseminating her art by giving workshops for adults and children.

The Ibn Rushd Prize 2019 called for:

a caricaturist who currently criticizes or ridicules political, religious or social leaders and authorities, focusing on their repressive, authoritarian, sectarian, and/or discriminatory stances, thoughts and/or behaviour.

By doing so, the caricaturist intends to promote ideas pertaining to humanism, human rights and freedom of thought. The caricatures must have a high reach.

This year’s jury for the Ibn Rushd Prize consisted of Youssef Abdelke (Syria), Khalid Al-Baih (Sudan), Omézine Ben Chikha (Tunisia), Omelez El-Farsi (Libya), and Amjad Rasmy (Jordan).

Runners up to the prize were, in alphabetical order: Do’a Al-Adl, Egypt; Rashad Alsam’i, Yemen; Ali Farsat, Syria; Fares Garabet, Syria; Habib Haddad, Lebanon; Imad Hajjaj, Jordan; Talal Nayer, Sudan.

For the allocation of the 19th Ibn Rushd Prize for Freedom of Thought, the Ibn Rushd Fund has continued to practice the principles of grassroots democracy established since its foundation: At the beginning, the members of the Ibn Rushd Fund choose a topic for the prize from among a list of topics made by the executive and advisory boards. After the official notification of the topic in April, any member of the public may nominate a candidate. In the meantime, the Fund chooses a jury comprised of five experts in correspondence with the topic, from five Arab countries and including at least two women. The jury is honorary and independent. The result is drawn from the sum of points given for each of the categories specified by the jury. Since 1998, the Ibn Rushd Fund has sought to distinguish people or organisations who have made a significant contribution to Freedom of Thought in the Arab World with its prize. Former prize winners: Ibn Rushd Prize The prize awarding ceremony as well as the prize money consisting of €2500 are exclusively funded through membership fees and the contributions of the members of the Ibn Rushd Fund.
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