The Mondriaan Fund granted Lebanese artist Rana Hamadeh the 2017 Prix de Rome, the oldest visual arts award in the Netherlands, accompanied by a €40,000 (Dhs174,484) cash prize and a chance to work at the American Academy in Rome. Celebrating visual artists under 40, Hamadeh was selected for her opera project The Ten Murders of Josephine from a larger body of work made over a five-month period. Her practice is marked by the creation of her own language, and the dissection and reconstruction of histories.
The Ten Murders of Josephine resonated with the jury, which consisted of Birgit Donker, Mondriaan Fund director; Ferra Barenblit, MACBA director; Mariette Dölle, Museum Kranenburgh director; artist Folkert de Jong; artist Petra Noordkamp; and Francesco Stocchi, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen curator, for its relevance. The work asserts the urgency of needing to be aware of and acknowledge the missing testimonies that have shaped largely inaccurate or incomplete histories. Hamadeh reinforces this through an immersive, theatrical and cacophonous installation-cum-epic that overwhelms viewers through ever-changing sound, technology and text.
The Rotterdam-based Hamadeh was nominated alongside Melanie Bonajo, Saskiai Noor van Imhoff and Katarina Zdjelar. “The jury is impressed by what they have achieved during the work period and by the way they have taken their art out of the studio environment and created it in different work forms and collaborations,” read a statement from the jury.
The first part of Hamadeh’s opera The Ten Murders of Josephine is on show at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam until 31 December 2017 while the Prix de Rome exhibition runs at Kunsthal Rotterdam until 25 February 2018.