Britain-based Indian-origin artist, Anish Kapoor was honoured with Israel's 'Genesis prize', popularly known as the Jewish Nobel for his commitment to Jewish values on 6 February 2017.
The award includes a prize money of $1 million. Kapoor has already announced his decision of using the amount to assist the Syrian refugees and alleviate the refugee crisis.
• The conferring of the Genesis Prize 2017 to Kapoor coincides with the celebration of 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.
• Kapoor’s win is a reaffirmation of the bilateral warmth shared by both India and Israel.
• In fact, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s visit to Israel in June or July 2017 is one of the most anticipated visits for both the sides.
• The prize committee, chaired by Natan Sharansky, the Chairman of the Jewish Agency, acknowledged Kapoor as one of the most influential artists of his generation.
In his acceptance speech, Kapoor spoke out strongly against the abhorrent policies adopted by several governments to deal with the refugee crisis and the largely growing sentiment of indifference for the suffering of others. He also spoke about the recurring conditions of indifference, persecution and Holocaust in Jewish history and how the Jews have had to re-identify their communities repeatedly.
About Anish Kapoor
• Kapoor, born to an Indian father and Iraqi-Jew mother, studied in Doon School in India before moving to the UK.
• He is best known for his artistic contributions to the world.
• However, he is also deeply committed to social justice and social activism.
• He created Holocaust Memorial for Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London.
• He was also the artist behind the candle design for the ‘70 candles for 70 years project’ for Holocaust Memorial Day 2015 that marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz- Birkenau.
About Genesis Prize
• Established in 2012, the annual prize is awarded jointly by the Genesis Prize Foundation, Israeli Prime Minister’s office and the Jewish Agency for Israel.
• The prize recognises individuals who have attained excellence and received international recognition in their fields and whose actions and achievements express full commitment to Jewish values, as well as to the Jewish community and the State of Israel.
• Some of the prize’s notable winners include actor-director Michael Douglas, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Israeli-American violinist Itzhak Perlman.