Nearly 80 years after the end of the Holocaust, genocide and other mass atrocities remain a threat to global peace and security. The identity-based violence we continue to witness around the world and the resulting human suffering serve as stark reminders of the devastating consequences of the international community’s failure to act. Preventing mass atrocities requires innovative approaches that move beyond crisis response to a focus on long-term initiatives. Recognizing the warning signs of mass atrocities, therefore, is an essential step in preventing them and the key to taking early, cooperative action.

“Art as Atrocity Prevention” is one such innovative approach. This concept speaks to the role of the arts in mitigating the risk factors that make genocide, other mass atrocities, and identity-based violence more likely, as well as the use of the arts as a powerful tool to contribute to the transformation of post-atrocity societies. By harnessing the expressive power of art, communities can engage in profound reflection, foster dialogue, and inspire resilience, making art an innovative strategy for effecting positive change in post-atrocity contexts.

To empower artists to reflect on their role in prevention and to promote human rights through art, the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (AIPG), the Global Campus of Human Rights (GC), and the Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (I-GMAP) at Binghamton University introduced the inaugural Joint Annual Engaged Artivist Award on Atrocity Prevention and Human Rights in 2023. This groundbreaking award was created to recognize the work of artivists (artist- activists) around the world and highlight the original ways in which they creatively respond to large-scale identity-based violence and mass atrocities.

This award emerged from Artivism—AIPG’s pioneering exhibition at the intersection of art, human rights, and genocide prevention. Originally unveiled alongside the 58th Venice Art Biennale in 2019, Artivism continued its impactful journey in 2021 at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, from April 30, 2021, to January 16, 2022.

Artivism featured the works of six artists and art collectives who use art as an instrument of activism in response to mass atrocities. These artworks spanned different post-atrocity contexts, highlighting artists and art collectives such as Rebin Chalak from Iraqi Kurdistan, Elisabeth Ida Mulyani from Indonesia, the South African Intuthuko Embroidery Project, the Argentinian Grupo de Arte Callejero (GAC), Aida Šehović from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Canada’s National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Through their powerful creations, these artivists introduced visitors to the personal, emotional, and historical realities of mass atrocities.

As with Artivism, the Joint Annual Engaged Artivist Award also aims to focus attention on the essential role of the arts in preventing systematic violence, demonstrating how art may be used as a grassroots tool for addressing political violence and human rights abuses — and for advancing peacebuilding, transitional justice, and prevention efforts.

The annual award is given to one artivist whose work is related to the topic of genocide and mass atrocity prevention. The recipient is awarded a year-long residency that includes stays at the GC headquarters in Venice, Italy, I-GMAP in Binghamton, New York, and one of AIPG’s global offices.

Zahara Gómez Lucini, a Spanish-Argentinian photographer based in Mexico, was the first recipient of the award in recognition of her exploration of political violence narratives that transcend geographical boundaries. Her collaborative efforts with human rights organizations and extensive fieldwork on disappeared persons underscore her commitment to investigating atrocities and reconstructing collective memory through her creative lens.

For further details regarding the award and application guidelines for the upcoming edition, please contact:

Dr. Tibi Galis
Executive Director

Dr. Kerry Whigham
Director of Research and
Online Education Program

Agendas of the Global Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention.



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