Daan Botlek, Rana Hamadeh, Rory Pilgrim, Katarina Zdjelar

Dolf Henkes Award
At the request of the Rotterdam artist Dolf Henkes (1903-1989), a part of his estate has been allocated for a stimulation award for artists who are just as iconic for the city of Rotterdam as the name giver himself used to be. At the initiative of the Henkes Foundation, the Dolf Henkes Award has been granted since 2004 to visual artists who make an important contribution to the Rotterdam art scene. Previous award winners were Jeroen Eisinga, Erik van Lieshout, Melvin Moti, Lara Almarcegui, Gyz La Rivière and Lidwien van de Ven. The winner of the 2016 edition was Katarina Zdjelar.

The jury, consisting of Alexander Ramselaar (art collector), Lidwien van de Ven (artist and winner of the Dolf Henkes Award 2014), David Bade (artist and co-founder of the Instituto Buena Bista on Curacao), Noor Mertens (curator) and Niels Post (artist and co-founder of Trendbeheer), agreed about the nomination of the artists below:

Daan Botlek (Vlaardingen, 1977) is an artist who has proved to be able, over the past ten years and off the beaten track of the art world, to develop a completely individual oeuvre and has thus managed to establish strong ties with a large worldwide audience. From a half page drawing in a book to a towering wall painting in India, he gives an account of a universe in which human figures play with the rules of geometry and the laws of physics.”

“Within her artistic practice, Rana Hamadeh (Rachkida, Libanon, 1983) draws on a curatorial approach to develop long-term discursive projects that lead her audience through the infrastructures of justice, militarism, histories of sanitation and theatre. Her body of work stems from an extended investigation into specific concepts and terms, treating the field of theory as fiction. Spanning performances, cartographic works, sound and text-based stage-sets, as well as writing projects and conversations, her work unfolds as a network of associations and lines of flight that bring together a diversity of histories, geographies, philosophies and fictions. In 2011, she initiated her ongoing project, Alien Encounters, as an umbrella for a series of works that think through state-sponsored forms of violence and the legal apparatuses that enable them.”

“In the work of Rory Pilgrim (Bristol, 1988), social involvement and communication form centre stage. For his projects, he works in close cooperation with a variety of people, both professionals and amateurs, children and elderly, locally and internationally. By entering into these forms of cooperation, Pilgrim creates a platform for dialogues with his work, an environment in which the participants can openly express themselves. He translates these meetings and conversations into his works on paper, posters with texts, video works, compositions and performances.”

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Katarina Zdjelar (Belgrade, 1979) makes a deep impression with her oeuvre, in which themes such as identity, authority and community form centre stage. Using the individual as a starting point, she manages to lay bare social issues and changes in society in her videos, sound works and books. Language is an ever recurring element, which she applies in several layers and simultaneously. She builds up a consistent oeuvre, in which she remains committed to her principle, medium and themes in an often appealing, penetrating visual language.”

The Dolf Henkes Award 2016 was made possible by the Henkes Foundation, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht, G.Ph.Verhagen Foundation, STOER and Powerhouse Company.


Daan Botlek, Rana Hamadeh, Rory Pilgrim, Katarina Zdjelar