Kofi Annan, Honorary President of the Prix Pictet, delivered the below speech before awarding the 6th Prix Pictet in Paris on 12 Novembre 2015.
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
It is my pleasure and honour to be here with you again to award the Prix Pictet.
Each year, I look forward to attending this ceremony. It is a wonderful opportunity to become familiar with the work of accomplished artists and to be inspired.
As Aristotle remarked: “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
Twelve photographers were shortlisted from around 400 nominees for their creative submissions on the theme of the current cycle, Disorder.
A few submissions in particular resonate with me because they deal with important issues that have been at the core of my Foundation’s work.
There is the Agbogbloshie area in Accra, a place where technology, human ingenuity, and environmental degradation all vie for prominence.
Then the Maidan in Kiev, a square which proved wrong those who thought that democratic aspirations of the people could be ignored and suppressed with orderly lines of security forces.
The story of Somali refugees, which personalizes and humanizes the increasing migratory flows, couldn’t be more timely.
Finally, portraits of victims of floods in the seemingly banal environment of their own homes serve as a reminder of the dramatic and intimate impacts of global climate change.
The shortlisted submissions, capturing scenes from different countries, are a testament to various aspects of global disorder.
Each artist invites us to look at a particular aspect of this disorder and reflect on it in a new way.
I am amazed by the creativity of the artists and their ability to translate some of the key challenges of today into unified stories of photographs that we can easily relate to.
Their photographs are silent, yet powerful calls to action. They have the power to galvanize the public into action, just as the picture of Syrian refugee boy Alan Kurdi did.
They remind us that each one of us has a role to play in mobilizing the political will necessary to confront these global challenges.
I therefore want to congratulate all the photographers for their important and inspiring work.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would now like to announce the winner of the Sixth Prix Pictet…Valérie Belin