Global recognition: Sabeen Mahmud’s hard work, creativity awarded
PeaceNiche | The Second Floor (T2F), a space for intellectual and cultural creativity set up by the late Sabeen Mahmud, will be awarded the Prince Claus Award , an annual feature that recognises institutions and individuals whose cultural actions have a positive impact on the development of their societies.
Sabeen’s organisation is among the five additional Prince Claus Awards that will be doled out on December 15, 2016 by His Royal Highness Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands in the presence of members of the Dutch royal family at a ceremony at the Royal Palace, Amsterdam.
The Principal Prince Claus Award will be given to Thai filmmaker and artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul. The other additional awards will be presented to chef and food activist Kamal Mouzawak (Lebanon), graphic designer, artist, educator and historian Bahia Shehab (Egypt/Lebanon), digital portal La Silla Vacía (Colombia) and architect Vo Trong Nghia (Vietnam). The awards will also be presented to the laureates by the Dutch ambassador in the countries where they live and work to increase local impact.
For the past 20 years, the Prince Claus Fund has honoured visionary artists and organisations for their pioneering work in culture and development, according to a press statement by the foundation.
PeaceNiche | T2F, a not-for-profit organisation founded by Sabeen (1974-2015), is an interdisciplinary space that promotes democratic discourse and conflict resolution through intellectual and cultural engagement. Its flagship project, T2F, is one of the few community spaces for open dialogue; it features a café and bookshop and hosts a packed agenda ranging from writer meet-ups to performing arts to open mic nights.
The current director of T2F, Marvi Mazhar, said, “It is very heart warming. We are in gratitude for this recognition and I really wish Sabeen was here to see all of this.”
Zaheer Kidvai, a founding member of T2F and Sabeen’s close friend, said “I am really happy and excited for T2F. It is the effort of Sabeen and now Marvi that T2F has won this award.”
Sabeen was shot dead in April last year in Karachi’s upscale Defence locality after returning home from hosting a session at the T2F. Her mother was also injured in the attack but has since recovered whereas the prime witness, her driver who remained unhurt in the attack, was shot dead in a separate incident in September, 2015.
The murder case is ongoing as some of the suspects given a death sentence by the special military court hearing their case have appealed the court’s verdict.
The Prince Claus Awards honour outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development. The awards are presented annually to individuals, groups and organisations whose cultural actions have a positive impact on the development of their societies. The awards highlight significant contributions in regions where resources or opportunities for cultural expression, creative production and preservation of cultural heritage are limited.
The Prince Claus Awards Committee comprises independent international professionals in the fields of art, culture and development. They select the laureates from among nominees put forward by the fund’s extensive networks. Traditionally, the fund has presented one principal award and ten additional awards. On this 20th anniversary year, it is taking a somewhat different approach and has selected a smaller number of laureates than usual and in addition to the award, has created the opportunity for each of the five laureates to support a project they feel expands and enhances creativity in their own environment.