Former Burmese political prisoner among winners of 2014 Artraker Awards

·         Three categories awarded in London award ceremony

·         Event dedicated to shortlisted artist, killed in Air Algeria disaster

·         Brigadier General Gordon Moulds CBE presents awards

Artraker, the home of Conflict Art and artists, has announced its 2014 Artraker Awardsin a ceremony held at London’s South Bank. Among the winners of the three categories was former Burmese political prisoner, San ZawHtway, taking the Artraker Award for Impactful Conflict Art.

The awards were presented by Brigadier General Gordon Moulds CBE (retired) and the ceremony was dedicated to the shortlisted Artraker artist, BakaryDiallo, who tragically lost his life in July in the Air Algeria disaster. His works, along with the11 othershortlisted artists, are open to the public in a free exhibition at a/political,South London.

The winners of the three awards for 2014 are:

The Artraker Awardfor Impactful Conflict ArtSan ZawHtway,“Recyling Myanmar’s Dignity.”Awarded for originality, impact, exceptionality and engagement.

Artraker Award for Social ImpactLorena Wolffer,“States of Exception.”Awarded for artwork makinga real difference in conflict or violence-affected communities, generating local change and lasting impact.

Artraker Award for Innovation in NarrativeMirror Image.Awardedfor novel art projects thatreveal a different understanding or perspective on conflict, violence, and peace.

San ZawHtway said: “I began creating artwork while being held as a political prisoner in Burma from September 1999 to January 2012. I created collages using materials from the prison's garbage, and exchanged food rations with guards to obtain prohibited items like scissors and glue.

“My work is a reflection of my experiences in prison and my desire for self-expression in the face of extreme deprivation. I want to raise awareness about the lives of political prisoners in Burma, and to prove that torture, violence and oppression can break a person's body but cannot take away the spirit within,” he added.

ManaliJagtap-Nyheim, Artraker Director and Co-Founder, said: “All the submissions this year demonstrated a high level of professionalism and highlighted a wide range of conflict issues.  It was very hard to make a decision, however, the jury felt that San ZawHtway’s piece best achievedArtraker’s aspirations for Conflict Art through its originality and tenacity in the face of such harsh oppression. His on-going community engagement through counselling, using art as a means of teaching others to reclaim the right to express themselves, is hugely inspiring.”

Alexia Webster, winner of the Artraker Award 2013, whose Street Studios project photographed refugees and their families in South Africa, regardless of their financial situation, said: “The Artraker Award prize has been instrumental in helping launch the Refugee Studios by enabling me to begin working in the camps [around the world]. The Refugee section of the project required initial funding to start and the Award provided that launching pad.”

The exhibition will travel to three other cities –

Work by San ZawHtway“Recyling Myanmar’s Dignity

Work by San ZawHtway“Recyling Myanmar’s Dignity

Image by San ZawHtway

Kabul, Colombo and Paris before returning to London in March 2015. A crowdfunding project is underway to support this initiative.


Artraker is a voluntary organization that was launched as an initiative in 2012 and established as a Community Interest Company (CIC) in 2013. It supports exceptional visual arts projects that shape how people and organisations understand, engage and respond to violent conflict and situations of violence.  For 2014, its second year, Artraker received 250 submissions from 75 countries, including Syria, Iraq, Burma and Mexico.  

The Artraker Awards provide visibility and financial support to artists working on art and conflict. It recognizes new ways to raise awareness, communicate, stimulate debate and transform our understanding of war, violent conflict and social upheaval. 

An international panel of experts from both the art and peace-building disciplines assess submissions to the Artraker Fund. They look for experimentation and engagement, audacity, change and capacity to inspire. The final prize is granted to inspirational, creative projects and imaginative initiatives. The Fund welcomes submissions from artists of all nationalities and at any stage of their careers.

Artraker is the brainchild of political artist, Manali Jagtap-Nyheim and a group of visionary, peace-building academics and creative organisations.

The exhibition is curated by Nikki Marquardt


You can see the 12 shortlisted works here

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