Artist Who Snubbed €50,000 Prize Changes Her Mind

Newsha Tavakolian
Photo via: L’Oeil de la Photographie

Newsha Tavakolian, the Iranian photographer who returned a €50,000 prize to the Paris-based Fondation Carmignac has changed her mind. She previously argued that her artistic freedom had been compromised. However, Tavakolian has now agreed to accept the 2013 photojournalism award after the foundation announced new conditions aimed at safeguarding the prize winner’s artistic integrity, reports Le Monde.

Last September, explaining her controversial decision to return the prize, Tavakolian posted on her Facbeook page:

My acceptance of the terms of the award from the Carmignac Gestion Foundation was based on the understanding that I would have full artistic freedom […]. Unfortunately, however, from the moment I delivered the work, Mr. Carmignac insisted on personally editing my photographs as well as altering the accompanying texts to the photographs. Mr. Carmignac’s interference […] culminated in choosing an entirely unacceptable title for my work that would undermine my project irredeemably.

In an attempt to preserve the credibility of the prize, the foundation released a statement on September 25th saying the rules of the award had been updated so “that photographers are guaranteed artistic freedom.” They also want to “ensure that the project that is awarded the grant is consistent with the final project. To this end we propose that as of today, the President of the Jury is the Chief Curator for the year.”

Jury President Anahita Ghabaian, director of the Silk Road gallery in Tehran, and Sam Stourdzé, director of Les Rencontres d’Arles, will oversee the exhibition of Tavakolian’s Iran project, slated to open at Paris’s Chapelle des Beaux-Arts on November 7th. The exhibition will then travel to London, Frankfurt, and Milan. Tavakolian will also sit on the jury for the next edition of the prize, which is open to submissions until October 12th.

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