Minority Artists, Voice, and Dissidence
OHCHR and minorities
Call for Applications: International Contest for Minority Artists
2024 Theme: Memory in the Present
Deadline: 15 February 2024
On the occasion of the Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Minorities, adopted on 18 December 1992, the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and the organizations Minority Rights Group International and Freemuse launch the 2024 Edition of the International Contest for Minority Artists, with a focus on the theme of Memory in the Present.
Applications will be accepted from 18 December 2023 to 15 February 2024 (deadline for submissions). Artists who identify as belonging to a minority are invited to submit high-quality electronic images of up to five works of art related to minorities and memory in the present.
The application form for the contest is housed here:
International Art Contest for Minority Artists (freemuse.org)
APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2024 CONTEST SHOULD BE SUBMITTED ON THAT LINK.
More information on the 2024 contest is available in the concept note.
The effective exercise of minority rights is intimately linked with visions and understanding of history in the present. Minority inclusion is frequently driven by public understanding of society as welcoming diversity. Minority exclusion, by contrast, often derives from an understanding of “our history” which defines minorities outside the circle of the legitimate. At the same time, minorities often carry with them the imprint of unrectified historical injustice.
The international human rights system has increasingly grappled with public memory as a condition of human rights-based justice. For example, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence has held that memorialization is a pillar of transitional justice, and necessary to address contemporary forms of exclusion and discrimination, including those facing minority communities.
In countries where minorities have been confronted with histories of human rights abuses, the recognition of past histories and the work of memorialization cut across all aspects of full reparation and reconciliation. Shedding light on past histories and advancing the process of memorialization are also key to ensuring the preservation and transmission of past memories to future generations. Furthermore, memorialization is an instrument of forward-looking social transformations that can foster dialogue, trust, inclusion, and ultimately reconciliation.
The 2024 Edition of the International Contest will shed light on the role and work of artists in the process of memorialization in different countries and contexts, and give visibility to the narratives, histories and memories expressed through arts by minority individuals and communities.
Announcement of Winners
International Art Contest for Minority Artists Working on Intersectionality Themes 2023
United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR), Freemuse and Minority Rights Group International (MRG) are proud to announce the winners of the Second Edition of the International Art Contest for Minority Artists. The 2023 edition invites applications from minority artists working on themes relating to intersectionality and compounded forms of discrimination.
International Minority Artist Award Laureates 2023:
- Babatunde “Tribe” Akande (multidisciplinary visual artist)
- Bianca Batlle Nguema (painter)
- Mehdi Rajabian (composer and musician)
International Minority Artist Award Laureates 2023: Youth Category:
- Karthoum Dembele (photographer)
- Aluízio de Azevedo Silva Júnior (visual artist, filmmaker and writer)
- Tufan Chakma (visual artist)
- Andrew Wong (visual artist)
- Elahe Zivardar (painter)
A full catalogue of the artists’ work is available here. The catalogue also provides information on minority artists human rights defenders, arts and human rights, intersectionality, as well as details of the 2023 Judges Panel.
On the occasion of the Zero Discrimination Day celebrated globally on 1 March 2023, and to launch the start of Racial Justice Month, the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) joined forces with the non-governmental organizations Minority Rights Group International, Freemuse and the City of Geneva to organize the Second Edition of the International Art Contest for Minority Artists. The 2023 edition invites applications from minority artists working on themes relating to intersectionality and compounded forms of discrimination.
Part of the year-long commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights led by UN Human Rights, the Second edition of the International Art Contest aims to celebrate minority artists who have exposed, explored, or addressed matters relating to intersectional forms of discrimination through their artwork, and to raise awareness on the human rights of individuals and groups belonging to minorities and facing compounded forms of discrimination.
Minority artists were invited to submit up to five works of art related to intersectionality and intersectional forms of discrimination. Applications were assessed by an independent Judges Panel composed of experts from different countries, disciplines and horizons, who were selected for their outstanding experience and commitment in the fields of arts, cultural rights and minority rights. The 2023 Judges Panel is:
- Yvonne Apiyo Brändle-Amolo, artist, Member of Swiss Parliament, and former OHCHR Person of African Descent Fellow;
- Carine Ayélé Durand, Director of the Museum of Ethnography of Geneva (MEG);
- Abdullah, Rohingya photographer based in Bangladesh and award-winner of the International Art Contest for Minority Artists 2022;
- Zahra Hassan Marwan, author, illustrator and award-winner of the International Art Contest for Minority Artists 2022;
- Alexandra Xanthaki, United Nations Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights.
Out of a total of 80 applications by minority artists from more than 35 countries around the world, the Judges Panel selected four Minority Artist Award laureates, including a Youth Minority Artist laureate, and awarded four honorable mentions. On 2 November 2023, at a gala hybrid event in Geneva and online.
Plans for the development of Minority Artists for Human Rights: Global Art Action 2024-2028, including how YOU can get involved, are available here.
Results of International Art Contest First Edition 2022
On the occasion of the International Day Against Racial Discrimination 21 March 2022, the UN Human Rights Office (ohchr.org), the UN Refugee Agency (unhcr.org), the non-governmental organizations Freemuse (freemuse.org) and Minority Rights Group International (minorityrights.org) joined forces to launch a contest for minority artists who have exposed, explored, and/or addressed matters relating to statelessness through their artwork.
The contest was organized to support minority artists’ work on statelessness and to increase the visibility of their artwork, while raising awareness on the human rights of stateless individuals and groups belonging to minorities.
The contest was adjudicated by a dedicated Judges Panel involving minority artists from various contexts worldwide, as well as involving the UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights:
- Khadim Ali, Pakistani artist based in Australia and belonging to the Hazara ethnic minority
- Yvonne Apiyo Brändle-Amolo, artist and former OHCHR Person of African Descent fellow based in Switzerland
- Yuliya Lanina, Russian-born and US-based multidisciplinary artist of Jewish background
- Aline Miklos, Roma artist from Brazil/Argentina and OHCHR Senior Minority Fellow
- Alexandra Xanthaki, United Nations Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights
On 3 November 2022, at a gala hybrid event in Geneva and online, on the basis of decisions by the Judges Panel, awards were provided to three minority artists working on statelessness themes:
- Zahra Hassan Marwan (artist and author)
- Jean Philippe Moiseau (plastic and recycling artist)
- Abdullah (photographer and videographer)
Four further minority artists received honourable mention:
- Brang Li (painter and visual artist)
- Amin Taasha (painter and visual artist)
- Naser Moradi (painter)
- Mawa Rannahr (painter)
A full catalogue of the artists work is available: HERE
The catalogue also includes biographies of the 5 members of the Judges Panel, information on minority statelessness and the right to nationality, and details of global action to end statelessness.
Further information, including as concerns process and criteria for the awards, is available at: international art contest Recognizing Minority Artists Working on Statelessness Themes.
The Minority Artists, Voice and Dissidence series brings together minority artists from diverse contexts to present artwork on the freedom of artistic expression. The series aims to strengthen OHCHR and the UN system’s recognition of minority art and artists as powerful players in discourse and action on human rights—and to deepen engagement with them.
The first event of the Minority Rights, Voice and Dissidence series—Human Rights, Art and Protest: Voice and Expression in U.S. Minority Communities in the Time of the Pandemic—was held in February 2021. It focused on artists from across a range of minority communities in the United States, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2nd Human Rights Gallery of the Minority Rights, Voice and Dissidence series—Speaking Truth to Power: Religious or Belief Minority Artists, Voice and Protest—took place in May 2021. The focus was on religious or belief minorities worldwide, including in circumstances where artists may be threatened by anti-blasphemy or anti-apostasy laws, as well as by other forces limiting civic space.
A 3rd event— Human Rights Re-Imagined: A Virtual Art and Activism Tour -- focussed on minority visual artists from a plurality of mediums, contexts and geographies, with due regard for gender and minority diversities.