On 20 April 2022, the Akademie van Kunsten/Society of the Arts awarded senior curator, researcher, and cultural programmer Amal Alhaag the Akademie van Kunsten Penning 2022 conferred by Liesbeth Bik and Charl Landvreugd. On this occasion Alhaag, with SNAP (see more information below), organised the program: Black Like Us, Mourn Like Us, Imagine Us. Black Like Us, Mourn Like Us, Imagine Us made possible "an evening for inter-generational dreaming and mourning in these times of duress. A remembrance and a future call-and-response not to reinvent the wheel, but to acknowledge that it takes multiple villages to raise eccentric, killjoy and radiant children. How do we practice freedom without excluding solidarity, refusal and shout-outs?," said Alhaag.
To note, Alhaag spoke of her hesitation to accept the award, for what does it mean to accept an award in a building, in a part of Amsterdam that was crucial to building the wealth of the Dutch colonial empire, a past whose technologies of extreme violence persist in so many aspects of our institutional lives? In Alhaag's words, the gesture to accept the prize, is about considering "how to make the microphone and its value circulate." Alhaag further deliberated, "I am not here for the prize; I am here for the advertising." Alhaag made clear that she accepted the award, as a means to create space for friend-colleagues, what Wayne Modest explained is Alhaag's capacity to "at once criticise and love." Modest praised Alhaag's nurturing of kinship, which Modest notes is crucial to creating more inclusive institutional spaces. Alhaag aligned herself with those whom she invited as equally committed to "inhabiting the village," a village that includes those committed to rigorous aesthetic and/as political work. Amal offered: "Poetry, being Somali, the way I make culture, the way I collaborate and bring together the eccentric refugee children, remembering the wars that are within us, that we are one breath away from being a war child." From a consciousness of what it means to balance how colonial heritages continue to shape contemporary European societies, on the one hand, with the need to make political art while also "having fun," on the other, Alhaag pointed to "the idea of SNAP, as a means to acknowledge the collective learning, hating, laughter and work." Presenters, performers, and speakers in order of appearance included: Liesbeth Bik; Charl Landvreugd; Dayna Martinez Morales, Linar Ogenia, and DJ Lovesupreme; Barby Asante; Nawal Mustafa; Ricardo Wijngaarde; Raoni; Wayne Modest; Toni Blackwell; and OTION.
See more below on the SNAP project.
Image: SNAP project image - Black Like Us, Mourn Like Us, Imagine Us
The RCMC acknowledges Senior Researcher and Cultural Programmer, Amal Alhaag's, laudation and award, bestowed 'upon' her by the Akademie van Kunsten on 20 April 2022 and conferred by Charl Landvreugd. She received the medal for her curatorial practice, research and collaborative community work, in which decolonial practice, counterculture, oral histories and popular culture have remained central to her commitment to "allowing for critical (un)learning, space for discussion, and institutional change." Drawing on words from the Akademie's website, with this medal and ceremony, the jury praised Alhaag for the many roles in which she is active in the cultural sector. She is the initiator and facilitator of various interdisciplinary platforms: such as Metro54, the RCMC, and The Anarchist Citizenship. The award celebrates Alhaag as writer, moderator, curator, advisor and DJ. The jury appreciates her commitment to polyphony, cooperation, and the creation of conditions that create a truly inclusive cultural world.
De Akademie van Kunsten Penning
De Akademie van Kunsten provides a platform for the debate on the value of art in society and on the relationship between art and science.
The award and medal was designed by book designer and Academy member Irma Boom and executed by Edelsmit Emile Estourgie. In 2018, the Academy of Arts decided to create a Medal for and by artists as a tribute to a person or collective that has made a very meritorious contribution to the arts in the Netherlands, in the broadest sense.