Last week, it was announced that Dhaka-based photographer and human rights activist Shahidul Alam was released from jail on November 20. Alam was incarcerated for more than 100 days after being accused of making “provocative” statements on Facebook Live and in an interview with Al Jazeera television with regards to the government’s reaction to the student-led Dhaka protests in early August. Alam has said in a statement to Agence France-Press: ‘It is a fantastic feeling to be free in a free country, breathing free air. But I hope for freedom for everyone else.’ Although he has been released from jail, Alam still faces charges of ‘spreading propaganda and false information against the government’, to which Amnesty International has responded by issuing a statement saying that the Bangladesh government should ‘uphold its international commitments to protect the rights to freedom of expression’ by dropping his charges.
Nan Goldin has been awarded The Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal for ‘the sustained and significant input she has made to the art of photography’, and has also been given an Honorary Fellowship by the society. Other winners of this year’s RPS awards include Vanessa Winship, Juno Calypso, Mat Collishaw, Sarah Moon, and Jamie Hawkesworth, as well as prominent directors, educators, curators, writers, publishers, producers, and scientists who have made a significant contribution to photography. Other leading photographic artists who have received an Honorary Fellowship are: Edmund Clark, Mat Collishaw, Professor Karen Knorr, Sarah Moon, Zanele Muholi and Vanessa Winship. In addition to the awards, the RPS has announced that it will be awarding ‘a number of bursaries to fund individuals at each stage of their career, as well as global photographic and film projects that address environmental awareness and social documentary.’
Singapore Art Museum has announced that Weixin Quek Chong and Yanyun Chen are the winners of this year’s President’s Young Talents. Chong receives the Grand Prize ($20,000) for her artwork titled sft crsh ctrl (2018), while Yanyun Chen, who presented The scars that write us (2018), has been awarded the People‘s Choice Award ($5,000). President’s Young Talents is Singapore’s only programme which includes mentoring, commissioning and an award for emerging Singaporean artists aged 35 and below. Previous winners include Heman Chong, Boo Junfeng, Charles Lim and Ang Song Ming. This edition, which features an exhibition on view at Singapore Art Museum on through 27 January, includes specially commissioned artworks by Yanyun Chen, Weixin Quek Chong, Debbie Ding, Hilmi Johandi and Zarina Muhammad, which were developed under the guidance of a curator-mentor panel made up of David Chan, Roger Nelson, Grace Tan, Jason Wee and Zaki Razak.
Irene Aristizábal will take up the new role of Head of Curatorial and Public Practice at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art from March 2019. Leading the curatorial team and working with BALTIC’s director Sarah Munro, Aristizábal will deliver Baltic’s ‘civic mission on both a local and global level’. Aristizábal has, since 2013, been Head of Exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary, where she has curated shows and commissioned projects by artists including Pia Camil, Steffani Jemison, Otobong Nkanga, Simon Starling, Michael Beutler, Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz, Sun Ra, Rana Hamadeh, Danai Anesiadou, Danh Võ, Carol Rama and Asco. She has organised recent group exhibitions Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender Resistance (2018, co-curated with Rosie Cooper and Cédric Fauq) and States of America: Photography from the Civil Rights Movement to the Reagan Era (2017, co-curated with Abi Spinks).
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