Swiss museum suspends Elysée Prize
The Musée de l’Elysée has decided to suspend the organisation of the Lacoste Elysée Prize 2011 and released the following statement:
“The Musée de l’Elysée has based its decision on the private partner’s wish to exclude Larissa Sansour, one of the prize nominees. We reaffirm our support to Larissa Sansour for the artistic quality of her work and her dedication. The Musée de l’Elysée has already proposed to her to present at the museum the series of photographs “Nation Estate”, which she submitted in the framework of the contest.
For 25 years, the Musée de l’Elysée has defended with strength artists, their work, freedom of the arts and of speech. With the decision it has taken today, the Musée de l’Elysée repeats its commitment to its fundamental values”.
Palestinian artist and photographer Larissa Sansour had recently seen her nomination to the prestigious €25,000 Lacoste Elysée Prize revoked on the basis that it is ‘too pro-Palestinian’. Sansour’s shortlisted work, Nation Estate, is conceived in the wake of the Palestinian bid for UN membership. Nation Estate depicts a science fiction-style Palestinian state in the form of a single skyscraper housing the entire Palestinian population. Inside this new Nation Estate, the residents have recreated their lost cities on separate floors: Jerusalem on 3, Ramallah on 4, Sansour’s own hometown of Bethlehem on 5, etc.
Larissa Sanour’s sister Leila Sansour recently gave a presentation about her work keeping Bethlehem Open at the Bristol Palestine Film Festival. Audio and visual updates from this talk will be available shortly.