Credit: Jowhar / Mahsa Aleph (IR), Photo: Valentin Weede

Winners 2023

Main Prizes

  • And If We Observe The Present: Conversations with Bodo Oilfields

    And If We Observe The Present: Conversations with Bodo Oilfields

    Taiye Ojo (NG)

    Although widely referenced in popular culture as a victim of Big Oil, corruption and pollution, Ogoniland remains one of the most beautiful and biodiverse ecosystems in the world. However, chronic oil spillages and waste dumping is turning Ogoniland into a living hell for millions of its indigenes.

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  • Jowhar


    Mahsa Aleph (IR)

    The word “jowhar” has several meanings in the Persian language: ink, essence, gem, nucleus, origin. The sentence on the paper scrolls is taken from a note in my notebook written in 2013. Translation: Future is merely a part of the past which has been forgotten.

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Honorary Mentions

  • !Habesi


    Indigene Corefio |Huuke Harris (ZA), /Xam Sam Fortuin (ZA), Xopher Wallace (ZA), Dr Diana Ferrus (ZA), Sthando Masuku (ZA), Elder Nkosenathi Koela (ZA)

    !Habesi is a multi-disciplinary exhibition of fine art, poetry, photography, indigenous instrumentation and augmented reality intended to highlight the multiple genocides, epistemicides and acts of violence inflicted on indigenous communities everywhere. !Habesi is a creative exploration intended to highlight indigenous land rights in South Africa and the world.

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  • Cosmic Land

    Cosmic Land

    Kira Xonorika (PY)

    This project explores futurism through centering multidimensional ecologies in conjunction with trans and Indigenous epistemologies. It aims to resist the homogenizing tendencies of AI systems and cultural amalgamation perpetuated through colonialism by constellating multimodality and magic.

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  • Footprints of Ants

    Footprints of Ants

    Ümit Güç (TR)

    Footprints of Ants is the story of Syrian refugees and local agricultural workers living in a tent camp where poverty and anger are driving forces. A search for two missing children evolves into a search for human values.

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  • Invasions 1.2.3

    Invasions 1.2.3

    Alevtina Kakhidze (UA)

    INVASIONS 1.2.3. is a film that was made following the liberation of the Kyiv region from the Russian occupiers in 2022.

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  • Long Nights

    Long Nights

    Kholod Hawash (IQ)

    The project is a textile with figurative artworks, attached to the walls. Art can be more alive through technologies that are closer to our lives. 

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  • Pictures of Nothing

    Pictures of Nothing

    Mac Andre Arboleda (PH), Rollyna Domingo (PH)

    Pictures of Nothing is a meditation on looking, in a world with non-humans, using camera trap data of the elusive and endangered Palawan binturong in the Philippines.

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  • Where is a place for me to sleep in peace?

    Where is a place for me to sleep in peace?

    Ma Ei (MM)

    The recent coup in our country has caused significant disruption to our democracy, leaving many citizens in distress.  Our situation is dire and we cannot achieve a peaceful resolution alone. I do not dare to expect basic human rights and equality from the world where there is not a single place to sleep peacefully.

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Jury 2023

The State of the ART(ist) 2023 Open Call has garnered tremendous response, with a staggering 564 submissions received from artists residing in 58 different countries. This overwhelming participation serves as a testament to the global resonance of the State of the ART(ist) Initiative, which aims to shed light on the challenging conditions faced by artists worldwide.

The jury has carefully considered the submissions, reflecting on the essence of being an artist at risk. We recognize the immense risks faced by these artists, including living under war and conflict, enduring violations of basic human rights such as freedom of speech and artistic expression, and facing persecution for political reasons, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

In an important development of the State of the ART(ist) 2023, the jury has also taken into account the risks associated with environmental breakdown. This includes the direct threats posed by climate change and biodiversity loss, as well as the specific forces—individual, corporate, and governmental—that endanger the lives and livelihoods of activists, organizers, and communities at the forefront of extraction and destruction.

We hold great appreciation for the artistic vision that offers unique approaches to making invisible issues visible. The selection process prioritized works that showcase and engage with human values, highlight overlooked conflicts, and contribute to a greater understanding of environmental concerns.

We value the contributions of artists who have been silenced or repressed in various contexts, ranging from Ukraine, Iraq, Kurdistan, to Myanmar and Nigeria. Their voices and expressions enrich our collective understanding and serve as a testament to the unwavering courage and resilience of the human spirit.

We are profoundly inspired by the courage and resilience demonstrated by artists living and working in challenging situations around the world. Together, we stand united in our commitment to fostering an environment that nurtures and protects their invaluable contributions to the cultural fabric of our global community.

Christl Baur, Ivor Stodolsky, Leila Nachawati Rego, Lucia Pietroiusti, Marita Muukkonen, Martin Honzik, Simon Mraz

State of the ART(ist) 2022

In response to the start of the Russian war of aggression on February 24, 2022, the Austrian Foreign Ministry and Ars Electronica launched “State of the ART(ist)”. The joint initiative is intended to bring artists before the curtain who, at risk to life and limb, stand up against war, persecution and oppression and, above all, address Russian aggression and its fatal consequences. In the framework of an open call, a total of 357 submissions from 40 countries were received in 2022.