Jury report Graduation Prize 2021 

The jury of the Graduation Prize 2021 had the privilege this year of judging 49 graduation projects of graduating students from the AHK academies. In total, 24 graduation projects were submitted by graduating students from the Bachelor’s programmes and 25 by graduating students from the Master’s programmes. A fine harvest!

It was good to see that all academies were well-represented in the submissions. That resulted in a wide variety of graduation projects... As a jury, we are pleased to see that all academies are also represented in the nominations. That shows that the level throughout the entire AHK is high. 

The jury was extremely impressed by the quality of the works submitted. During the jury deliberations, we wondered how it is possible that the level is so high at a time when the coronavirus is having such an enormous impact on education and the arts. We have great respect for the achievements of the graduating students who submitted their work for the Graduation Prize and would like to compliment everyone on the impressive results, which were a real joy for us to behold. 

We ultimately had to limit ourselves to 11 nominees for the shortlist. Six of them fall under the Bachelor’s category and five under the Master’s category. These are the nominated graduation projects:

Bachelor’s nominees

Notes – Lautaro Hochman
Lautaro Hochman achieves the maximum effect with a minimum number of notes. The composition is a beautiful reflection of these times: lonely and poignant. The musical expression of isolation, the handling of the instrumentation and the choice to use as few notes as possible shows daring.  

Saoshyant – Ramin Amin Tafreshi
Saoshyant is a work of exceptional quality for a Bachelor’s graduation project. Due to a fantastic, layered composition and the modern filming of the old Persian story about the king Zahhak, this short opera is a topical and revealing artwork about the choices that must make in our lives. Bravo! 

Yalda: the longest night (Yalda: de langste nacht)  – Faydim Ramshe
Yalda: the longest night is based on a very personal experience, but effortlessly transcends that. It is a poetic film in which animation, graphic images, time-lapse and storytelling merge in a natural way. Faydim Ramshe gives the viewer a new perspective on the emotional side of emigration. The fact that you, as a viewer, also feel lost ultimately is an outstanding achievement.

The Unspoken Truth – Dion Rosina
The work of Dion Rosina exudes social engagement while simultaneously being extremely personal. He manages to translate the history of the African diaspora and the representation of marginalised groups into surprising work in a very creative way. His paintings are of a high standard and make the viewer think.

Verlangen (Longing) – Lotte Salomons
In less than three and a half minutes, Lotte Salomons manages to evoke a world of emotions. Verlangen (Yearning)  is an extremely successful work aesthetically, in which different visual techniques come together in a beautiful way. In spite of the short duration, it feels like a very complete work and you are touched by the sadness of father and son. Beautiful!

X Y WE – Marleen Hendrickx
X Y We takes a very topical subject as its starting point, which is convincingly fleshed out by Marleen Hendrickx. The solo performance, the group performance and the educational programme form one strong whole, which can be presented anywhere in the country. Marleen Hendrickx is a true champion of the theme of ‘intersex’ and knows how she  can ensure an audience feels a sense of connection with this. 

Final assessment
It is a pleasure for the jury of the AHK Graduation Prize to award the Graduation Prize in the Bachelor’s category to a graduation project that is very personal, while simultaneously transcending the personal; a project which offers the viewer a new and surprising perspective on the theme and that is also totally convincing in terms of form and technique.  We are happy to award the AHK Graduation Prize in the Bachelor’s category to Yalda: de langste nacht (Yalda: the longest night) by Faydim Ramshe. 


Master’s nominees

The Calabar Sculpture Garden – Stephanie Idongesit Ete
The Calabar Sculpture Garden deals in an excellent way with the question of how you can give physical form to a cultural identity and how you should handle, among other things, heritage, art and architecture within that context. An important and increasingly topical theme. Stephanie Idongesit Ete has analysed and documented this in a persuasive manner, with a keen eye for the local aspects.  

The Democratization of Knowledge – Andrea Lagrutta
The value of creating and sharing knowledge is still insufficiently exploited, especially within cultural organisations. With The Democratization of Knowledge, Andrea Lagrutta offers these organisations a well-substantiated model for knowledge management. It is an excellent study with convincing conclusions and it is also professionally executed; a study that can be of benefit to any cultural organisation. 

Sector Quicksand – Abhay Kumar
Sector Quicksand broaches a complicated topic in an insightful manner. Abhay Kumar asks relevant questions about how the form and the purpose of a slickly designed city affect the residents. As a result of his personal engagement and the people that he interviews, his research is both fascinating and socially-relevant. A graduation project that is interesting and extremely successful conceptually.

Time Will Tell – Reza Mirabi
In Time Will Tell, Reza Mirabi manages to blend different disciplines in a strong way. Spoken word, dance and music are fused into an intriguing performance in a completely organic way. Although the motive is bleak, the end result is, above all, philosophical and reassuring. Very cleverly done, intellectual and moving.

Water Pride (Watertrots) – Niek Smal
Fresh water addiction is an enormous and complicated problem, for which Niek Smal has developed a convincing solution in Watertrots (Water Pride). His research is exceptionally well executed and documented, and he presents a stimulating vision. Watertrots (Water Pride) is a uniquely relevant and realistic graduation project and at the same time a golden opportunity for North Holland to regain control over water management.

Final assessment
The jury of the AHK Graduation Prize is very happy to award the prize in the Master’s category to a concept that is as visionary as it is applicable, which deserves to be executed as soon as possible: Watertrots (Water Pride) by Niek Smal.