SPAIN’S ‘shameful’ cultural policy is under attack, as artists turn down €60,000 worth of prizes in protest.
Photographer Colita and the musician Jordi Savall have both turned down National Awards – worth €30,000 each – this month.
The public protest actions have sparked fierce debates concerning the alleged failings of the cultural ministry.
PSOE Culture secretary Iban Garcia Blanco is demanding Wert’s ‘immediate resignation’.
Catalan-born photographer Colita, born Isabel Steva Hernandez, wrote a letter to Minister of Culture Jose Ignacio Wert explaining her decision to turn down the National Photography Prize.
She wrote: “The situation of culture and education in Spain is shameful, embarrassing and heartbreaking. It is unbelievable that this cultural ministry can exist. It is a chimera.”
Catalan musician Jordi Saval has also rejected the National Music Prize in protest.
“I could not accept the award of a government that has failed to meet one of its main tasks, which is present culture in life and make it accessible to everyone,” insisted Savall.
Perceived failings of the cultural sector include budget cuts for the country’s cultural institutions, an increase in IVA for sales of art and live performances, and a lack of polities to protest intellectual property, libraries and cinema.
Despite current tensions between Catalunya and Spain, Colita insisted: “My status as a Catalan citizen has nothing to do with my renunciation. Do not make things up. I believe in universal culture.”
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