Deadline: 15 February 2024

On the occasion of the 31st Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Minorities on 18 December 2023, UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and the non-governmental organizations Minority Rights Group International and Freemuse launched 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 (please see application form below).

More information on the International Contest for Minority Artists, including the 2022 and 2023 editions, is available here.

Theme of the 2024 Edition of the International Contest for Minority Artists: Memory in the Present

Minority artists working on the theme of minorities and memory in the present are invited to apply to the 2024 edition of the International Contest for Minority Artists.

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.

Assessment of applications and announcement of award winners

Applications submitted by 15 February 2024 the latest will be assessed by a dedicated Judges Panel composed of independent experts from the field of arts, culture, minority rights, and human rights. The Judges Panel will select three minority artists or art projects to receive non-hierarchical awards, and one minority artists or art project to receive the Minority Youth Artist Award (artists aged between 18 and 24). The Judges Panel can also grant honourable mentions.

The award-winners will be publicly announced in November 2024, during a Ceremony organized in Geneva, Switzerland. On this occasion, an exhibition and a catalogue featuring the awarded artists will be publicly launched. The ceremony will be followed by a series of in-person events in Geneva, including with public schools, human rights and cultural institutions.


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