Servet Kocyigit Wins the Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography 2016

Out of fifty artists nominated by art professionals from sixteen different countries, the SIPEP2016 Committee has selected the Turkish artist Servet Kocyigit as the SIPEP2016 winner and awardee of the 45,000 US$ prize. Mentions of Honor were also given to: Marion Belanger (USA), Richard Moss (Ireland), David Adika (Israel), and Alec Soth (USA). The Prize was dedicated this year to issues of locality, of the relation between the work of art and its affiliation with certain geography.

Born in 1971, Kocyigit lives and works between Istanbul and Amsterdam. Many of Kocyigit’s works deal with different experiences of foreignness, immigration and identity construction, in an era where the difference between free movement and forced-movement is at the base of the global human condition. Kocyigit’s new work, which was presented to the committee, was outstanding in its visual quality and conceptual depth. The artist traveled to South Africa trying to capture something of the complex history of natural resource exploitation in the continent by Western companies and countries. This he does through a local group of actors, staging dramatic situations out in the open landscape.

SIPEP2016 committee selected Kocyigit due to his courageous treatment of complex issues that are not limited to his own biography; his ability to mix documentation and fiction through alternative narratives without compromising historical truth; his ingenious artistic liberty, demonstrated through the combination of photography, video art and performance; and his fresh approach toward the subject of the gaze and the encounter with otherness that stimulates both ethical and aesthetical discourse in contemporary art and culture.

The jury members of SIPEP2016 were: Virginia Heckert, Curator and Head of Photographs in the Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Sebastian Cichocki, Chief curator of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw; Dr. Gal Ventura, associate professor at the Department of Art History, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem; and Dr. Noam Gal, Curator and Head of the Department of Photography, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. The official ceremony will take place at the Israel Museum, on March 2nd, 2017.


© Photo: Beverley Pestana Inacio