"There are over 60 million refugees in the world today"
Anish Kapoor has emerged as a champion of Syrian refugee rights as he has declared he will donate his one million dollar Genesis Prize money to help the refugees cause.
Having won the prestigious accolade on 14th February 2017, the 62-year-old, Kapoor, used it as a platform to speak out against ‘abhorrent government policies’ towards refugees as he was named the recipient of the Genesis Prize-also known as the Jewish Nobel Prize.
The prize this year also happens to coincides with celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.
Kapoor, born in Mumbai to an Iraqi-born Jewish mother and an Indian father said that he would utilise the money to alleviate the refugee crisis and help people who have fled war and prosecution. His aim is to expand the Jewish community’s philanthropic engagement in aiding Syrian refugees.
The chair of the prize committee, Natan Sharansky praised Kapoor as being ‘one of the most influential and innovative artists of his generation’. He joins former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and Hollywood actor Michael Douglas as a recipient of the award.
The Israeli ambassador to India, Daniel Carmon said: “I congratulate Mr Kapoor for winning the prestigious Genesis Prize of 2017. Kapoor’s contribution to the world – both artistic and humanitarian – is deservedly celebrated.”
Anish Kapoor expressed his desire to help the estimated 12.5 million Syrians who have been displaced during the ongoing Syrian Civil War.
He stated: “as inheritors and carriers of Jewish values it is unseemly, therefore, for us to ignore the plight of people who are persecuted, who have lost everything and had to flee as refugees in mortal danger”.
Kapoor’s intention to help the refugee crisis was revealed when he said:
“Outsider consciousness resides at the heart of Jewish identity and this is what motivates me, while accepting the honour of the Genesis Prize, to re-gift proceeds to refugee causes.”
“I am an artist, not a politician, and I feel I must speak out against indifference for the suffering of others.”
“There are over 60 million refugees in the world today – whatever the geography of displacement, the refugee crisis is right here on our doorstep,” he added.
The prize, awarded by the Genesis Prize Foundation, the office of the Israeli Prime Minister and the Jewish Agency for Israel recognises individuals who have attained excellence and international renown in their own fields.
Kapoor’s works include the creation of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London and the 70 candles for Holocaust Memorial Day in Britain in 2015, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz from the Nazis.