Traditionally, the Piket Prizes Award Ceremony takes place on the third Monday in November. This was even the case with the ‘alternative’ ceremonies of 2020 and 2021. This year, however, it was decided to move the event to Monday 10 October, because of a possible new wave of COVID infections in autumn. A break with tradition, of course, but that didn’t at all affect the festive mood in theatre De Nieuwe Regentes: “A ‘real’ ceremony, at last!”
Tiles instead of plush
Theatre De Nieuwe Regentes is a special place. At one time, the 1920 building was the biggest indoor swimming pool in Europe. The pool was closed in 1995, but people were quick to recognize the potential of the place and a theatre floor was installed to cover the pool space. It is now impossible to imagine The Hague’s theatre scene without De Nieuwe Regentes – a theatre with tiles instead of red plush.
Presenter Ivar Lingen warmly welcomes nominees, guests, and everyone interested to this ninth Piket Art Prizes Award Ceremony and asks for a round of applause for the musicians, Marco Ullstein (vibraphone) and Niccolò Angioni (trumpet), who already greatly contributed to the wonderful atmosphere in the foyer as people came in. The audience will have the opportunity to enjoy their unique sound for a bit longer, Ivar explains, because there is a slight problem with the projection equipment. Fortunately, after about ten minutes Frederik Piket’s portrait appears on the projection screen and the ceremony can start. Needless to say, the musicians receive a another thunderous applause.
‘Go and see art again!’
After another word of welcome, Ivar gives the floor to Louise de Blécourt and Taco Hovius, director and president of the F.H. Piket Foundation respectively. Hovius points to the 81 portrait photographs of Piket nominees on the screen. “Even during the pandemic the Foundation never stopped supporting young artists,” Hovius says, “and we will keep following and drawing attention to the activities of all our nominees.” De Blécourt hopes that people will soon fully return to participating in art and culture. “Perhaps, after the COVID years, we have to get used to it again, perhaps our ‘backlog agendas’ are in the way. Whatever the case, go and see art again!”
An old desk
Kim David Bots, maker of this year’s awards, cheerfully answers Ivar’s questions about the shining objects, all ready to be presented – the larger awards in made-to-measure wooden cases, the smaller ones for the nominees in beautiful little boxes. Kim reveals that he made the objects of remelted, ‘second-hand’ aluminium, from an old desk to be precise. A second revelation concerns the spoon-shaped objects for the nominees. Kim explains that he regularly takes his two little dogs to the Kloostertuin on the Zuidwal. “The garden has pear trees and I picked up some of the windfalls. I used these to make the mold.” He really enjoyed the Piket commission. “You have a lot of freedom. Actually the only condition is that the object may not be longer than 30 centimeters.” With the awards, Kim offers the receivers an object they can use to perform their very own ritual, for instance at the start of a new project. “I would have liked to receive some ritual myself,” he says, “so I thought it would be nice to make such an object.”
The Piket Jury Prize: 1646 Experimental Art Space
Ivar now gives the floor to Jan Zoet, director of Amare and this year’s jury president. Jan, in his turn, invites the new The Hague alderwoman for Cultural Affairs, Saskia Bruines, to join him and announce the name of the winner. Members of the 1646 team, who have been lured to De Nieuwe Regentes under false pretences, are clearly somewhat overwhelmed. But with beaming faces all seven of them join alderwoman and jury president for photographs on stage.
1646, a project space for contemporary art located in the Boekhorststraat in The Hague, came into being as an artists’ initiative and developed into one of The Hague’s most important art platforms. The jury report mentions a “long and very consistent positive presence, which over the years has been of great significance.”
Painting: Marieke Peeters
Lea van der Vinde (Museums Huygens’ Hofwijck and Huygens’ Swaenstein) finds the jury membership “beautiful and honourable, but also difficult. The pre-selection, the visits to the studios, they’re great fun. But choosing the winner, that’s really hard.” Her fellow jury member, visual artist Joncquil de Vries agrees that this is the hardest part. After all, there are also two people who don’t win.
The jury report describes Marieke Peeters’ work as “impressive and fascinating.” In their opinion, Marieke has quite some challenges ahead of her, which is why, with this prize, they “want to offer her encouragement and support to deepen, question and explore her work in order to arrive at the optimal way to experience it.”
Marieke confesses to be rather shaken. In her acceptance speech she especially extends her thanks to her family, friends and partner: “I feel everyone always somehow shows up in my work.”
Dance: Isla Clarke
“We didn’t make things easy for ourselves,” says jury member Amos Ben-Tal (OFFprojects). “Our nominees are very diverse and hard to compare. But well, that’s our own fault, of course.” His colleague Isabelle Chaffaud (Meyer-Chaffaud): “In the end it’s about what makes us curious, what catches our eyes.”
Isla Clarke is deeply moved: “The prize is an honour and a privilege. It is important to stand here as a trans person and feel comfortable. Sometimes it’s not so easy.” According to the jury report, Isla is a dancer with a huge charisma: “She has chosen to do her transition through her career and incorporate the process in her artistry, which creates a very special artistic situation. The jury wants to honour and celebrate Isla’s choice and quest.”
Dramatic arts: Joep Hendrikx
“We had a lot of fun together,” says John de Weerd (Zaal 3, De Parade), “but eventually you have to make a choice.” Fellow jury member Ellen Goemans (actress, theatre maker, and tutor) wholeheartedly agrees that this is the difficult bit: “Our nominees are tree awfully nice guys. As far as I’m concerned, we could have divided the prize three ways.”
Winner Joep Hendrikx finds it all “really weird, but also very nice. I hadn’t expected to be moved, but I am!” He especially thanks his fellow Poezieboy Jos Nargy (2018 winner in the Dramatic Arts category) “who pushed me to places where I wouldn’t have been otherwise.” True to style Joep ends his acceptance speech with a poem by the Russian poet Boris Ryzhy.
The jury report describes Joep as a frank and open player, full of humour, bold: “His handling of poetry and language shows increasing depth and maturity. Presenting poetry – a type of acting without characters – offers creative opportunities which Joep seizes with both hands. Joep is a creative player and a playing creative, who genuinely shows himself.”
With all the excitement, a scene from Over Nachten (About Nights) a special production for children, forms a welcome intermezzo. Claire Hermans (former nominee 2017) is the goblin who, in no uncertain terms, explains to the little boy Jacob (Jacob de Groot) why he should not forget to feed his goldfish.
Finally presenter Ivar Lingen invites all non-winners to come and receive their award; everyone’s certificate is read aloud, and each has a photo opportunity. Unfortunately, Dance nominee Faile Sol is abroad, but Team Piket will see to it that he receives his award and certificate, too.
And of course it must not go unrecorded that this festive evening’s director was Koen Verheijden (2021 winner in the Dramatic Arts category).
Text: Anna Beerens
Photo’s: Janneke van Beek
About Piket Art Prizes
F.H. Piket Foundation
Frederik Hendrik Piket (1927-2011) was a solicitor and member of the Dutch Senate. He was also a great art lover and built a large and diverse visual art collection. After his demise, a foundation was established with the aim to support and promote the artistic climate of the city of The Hague, with a focus on painting, dance, and the performing arts. The Piket Art Prizes were founded in the autumn of 2014. The Prizes are awarded annually to promising young artists in each of the three disciplines mentioned above. Conditions are simple: the artist must not be older than thirty and have a relationship with the Hague region, either because (s)he flourished there or because his/her work provides a stimulating contribution to the local cultural environment. The art prizes are the legacy Frederik Piket dreamed of. Not only do they stimulate young artists at a personal level, they will also be of enduring significance for the local cultural climate.
The Piket Art Prizes
A Piket Art Prize consists of a specially commissioned sculpture and a cash amount of 8,000 Euros for each winner. In addition, each winner receives a report stating the motivation and judgement of the jury. In case an artists’ collective is awarded a prize, the prize money should be equally distributed among its members. The artist(s) may spend the sum at their own discretion. However, the Piket Foundation encourages expenditure that is beneficial to the artist’s career and profession. Every nominee receives an individual profile video and an accompanying photo portrait. Video and portrait will be used for our website as well as press and social media communications, in this way bringing the nominees to the attention of a wide audience. They also make a wonderful contribution to these young professionals’ portfolios. A jury selects one winner in each discipline. Besides the sculpture and a cash prize each winner will be given the opportunity to have a coaching session with the relevant jury members following the awards ceremony. In this way, the winner is supported and encouraged both financially and artistically.
Another important part of the Piket Art Prizes is the Piket Jury Prize, which provides the jury with the opportunity to reward someone for his or her cultural activities in the The Hague region, especially if these benefit young artists.
Each year, the board of the Piket Foundation invites an artist to create the Piket award. So far winners have received unique objects created by: Vittorio Roerade (2014), Pepijn van den Nieuwendijk (2015), Anneke Schat (2016), Florentijn Hofman (2017), Joep van Lieshout (2018), Peter Zwaan (2019), Suzie van Staaveren (2020), Yke Prins (2021) and Kim David Bots (2022).