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03 December 2018 | Nieuws

The 2018 presentation of the Piket Art Prizes: a festive jubilee!

The fifth presentation of the Piket Art Prizes took place on Monday 26 November. The first jubilee – something special to celebrate! Which is why the foyer of the Theater aan het Spui was decorated with balloons in Piket colours. Cees Debets, director of Het Nationale Theater, welcomed the more than 250 invited guests, wishing the nominees good luck. The whole excited company then went to the auditorium for the presentation ceremony.

‘You have been noticed’

Presenter Paula Udondek opened the ceremony by stressing the importance of every nominee. “You are already someone of stature in your field, because you have been noticed. Every one of you will be in the limelight tonight.’’ Louise de Blécourt, director of the Mr F.H. Piket Foundation, remarked that The Hague appeals to artists. “The Hague is not only the city for dance, but also increasingly for drama and visual arts. I was struck by the fact that more and more people choose to come and study at our Royal Academy of Art. They don’t go to Amsterdam. Is this a new trend?’’

The success of former nominees

De Blécourt also noticed that many former nominees still contribute to our city’s artistic climate. “Some initiatives developed into fully-grown companies and art projects, for instance Karel van Laere’s Stichting Largo, Youri Jongenelen’s Pop-up Dance, Nik van den Berg’s band Niko, Firma Mes, and the collective Thomas, Sacha & Jos. The city of The Hague may count itself lucky with so many initiatives and prospects for the arts, and especially with young artists. Artists somehow seem able to look into the future. In this way, they make an essential contribution to an innovative, mind-expanding, dynamic cityscape.’’

The first-jubilee book

Robert van Asten, alderman for culture, received the very first copy of the jubilee book about the first five years of Piket Art Prizes. He stressed the importance of the Royal Academy of Art and the Royal Conservatory. “We truly enjoy having these artists and their work here.’’

Jubilee budget

Taco Hovius, chairman of the board of the Mr F.H. Piket Foundation, explained that Mr Piket was thoroughly convinced of the importance of the arts and especially of young artists, and wished to extend his support beyond his own existence. This is still the aim of the Foundation, and it is for this reason that it applied for and obtained the special fiscal status known as ANBI. “This means favourable fiscal conditions for those who would like to donate to the Foundation, so please do not hesitate. To quote Francis Bacon: ‘Money is like manure, it’s only good if you spread it around.’” And a festive occasion means a treat: the sum of 9.000 Euros will be set aside as a special jubilee contribution towards creative collaboration between (former) nominees.

The winners of 2018

 

Painting: Eden Latham
The jury said they had greatly enjoyed looking for this year’s nominees. In the words of Suzanne Swarts (Voorlinden Museum): “We went to galleries, studios and exhibitions, and also visited the Royal Academy’s annual graduation show to spot new talent and talk to them, because, yes, The Hague is the place to be for the arts.” Maarten Demmink (Demiak) added: “We wanted to give the prize to the person we thought would really live up to expectations.” The award went to Eden Latham, who not only thanked the jury and the Mr F.H. Piket Foundation, but also STROOM and the The Hague city council. “A breeding ground such as Trixie is very important to me. Here is where the The Hague cultural climate receives true stimulus.’’

After the ceremony Eden Latham told us the prize came totally unexpected, because of the diversity of her work. “At first, I was in shock when I heard my name. I hadn’t prepared anything so I completely forgot to thank Mr Piket for the prize. I would like to do that now.’’ Latham will, for one thing, use her cheque to get her driving licence. “I need a driving licence in the US. I want to organize a group exhibition in Kentucky. I have been there before and found it an inspiring place. Kentucky can use a bit of art.”

Dance: Kinda Gozo
The dance jury, Stacz Wilhelm (Korzo) and Isabelle Chaffaurd (Meyer-Chauffaud), told the audience that, by the time they are thirty, dancers are almost at the end of their careers. “This is why we follow dancers over a long period, from their school days into their professional careers,’’ Wilhelm explained. “That’s quite a wide range and the question always is: who stands out?” This year it was Kinda Gozo. The winner, who had come over from France for the occasion, said she’d never thought she would stand here. “Thank you very much for believing in me.”

After the ceremony, Kinda Gozo said it is great to get help and support from people who also love art. “Art is the way to survive.” She carefully stowed her bronze picket, created by artist Joep van Lieshout, into her rucksack. She wants to use her cheque for her own dance projects. “In January I want to start on the creation of a duet together with another female dancer. In addition, I would like to do more collaborative work with other dancers.”

Dramatic Arts: Jos Nargy
Jury member Antoinette Jelgersma (Het Nationale Theater) also spoke on behalf of her colleague David Geysen (Bureau Dégradé) when she pointed out that all three of the Dramatic Arts nominees are ‘makers’. “They all have a lot of potential. They have things to tell us. Giving shape to something stirring deep inside you – this dimension is very much present this year.’’ The cheque went to Jos Nargy. Nargy said the prize came at a favourable moment. “I had a difficult financial year and I’m very keen to make my own work. This prize means recognition.’’ He extended his thanks to Joep Hendrikx (De Poezieboys) and his colleagues Thomas and Sacha (Collective Thomas, Sacha & Jos). “I’ll just happily carry on making things!’’

After the presentation Jos Nargy [link] said that it was special to receive the prize in the Theater aan het Spui. “This is where I started! I am going to use the money for the solo performance Jos danst. I expect it to be ready by September of next year. The prize money gives me breathing space.”

Jury Prize: Hedda Twiehaus
This year’s Piket Jury Prize went to Hedda Twiehaus. Erik Pals (Scapino Ballet), the chairman of the jury, described her as a true coach, ‘surrogate mother’, and repetiteur for the young dancers of Netherlands Dance Theatre (NDT) 2. Twiehaus, who had been lured to the theatre on a pretext, was completely taken by surprise. “I am speechless.’’

After the ceremony she explained: “I sometimes still work with Boston Gallacher, who was one of the nominees for Dance, so I really wanted to come. But when I heard my name, I thought: ‘This must be a mistake!’ It was a total surprise, wonderful!’’

‘Think for yourself’

Even though a fifth anniversary could be called a ‘wooden jubilee’, Joep van Lieshout’s awards only look like painted wood. The winners received a bronze picket, whereas the nominees’ picket was made of aluminium. Van Lieshout did not have to look far for inspiration. “Well yes, it was the name ‘Piket’, of course,” he explained. “I immediately thought of a picket [‘piketpaaltje’ in Dutch].’’ He spoke of the symbolic meaning of his creation. “It’s about moving on; you insert your post into the ground and stake out a piece of land. The picket marks an essential moment in your career.’’ He doesn’t mind giving young artists a bit of advice. “People often told me: ‘You shouldn’t do that,’ which was usually enough to make me do it anyway. And when people said: ‘That’s really something you should do,’ I didn’t do it. Think for yourself, follow your own path, even if it means going against the current.”

Read the interview with Joep van Lieshout about the 2018 Piket awards here

Former nominees Rutkay Özpinar and Beaudil Elzenga contributed to this special jubilee edition of the annual presentation. Özpinar was a 2014 Dance nominee; he performed is latest choreography No One Home. Beaudil Elzenga, nominated in the Dramatic Arts category in 2016, recited the poem The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe.