These artists won the Flemish Culture Prizes

These artists won the Flemish Culture Prizes

Theatre makers Jan Decorte and Sigrid Vinks have received the Ultima (Flemish Culture Prize) for General Cultural Merit from the Flemish government. Singer Tamino, director Lukas Dhont, visual artist Otobong Nkanga, writer Peter Verhelst and the renewed Bokrijk also take home an Ultima.

The annual culture prizes awarded by the Flemish Community are a quality label through which the government wishes to recognise the cultural significance of the laureates. The Flemish Culture Prizes have been awarded since 2003 already by the Flemish Minister for Culture to leading performers, artists, organisations and companies. In 2017 their name was changed to ‘Ultimas’.

General Cultural Merit: Jan Decorte & Sigrid Vinks

© Stefaan Temmerman

The most important prize is the prize for General Cultural Merit and this year it goes to theatre makers Jan Decorte and Sigrid Vinks. It is the first time that a duo has received the prize.

‘Jan Decorte, together with his soul mate and companion Sigrid Vinks, has paved the way for a new form of theatrical narrative and inspired countless performing artists,’ states the jury. ‘Time and again they push the boundaries, without giving in to the fashion of the moment. Together Jan and Sigrid walk the road to an essence that makes them experience new adventures every time. They are inextricably linked and it is therefore fitting that not only Jan Decorte, but also Sigrid Vinks can receive this Ultima for Cultural Merit.’

The prize for General Cultural Merit is worth 20,000 euros and is an award made by Stefaan Dheendene.

Music : Tamino

© Stefaan Temmerman

In addition to the prize for General Cultural Merit, eleven Ultimas are distributed. In the categories Music and Film, young talent Tamino (21) and Lukas Dhont (27) receive all the praise. Singer Tamino made his breakthrough in 2017 with the hit ‘Habibi’ and released his debut album ‘Amir’ last year. "Although he's still young, his music appeals to a very wide audience", the jury says. ‘His voice, musical qualities and lyrics are all very strong and the whole forms an authentic style.’

HERE you can read what we wrote about Tamino.

FILM: Lukas Dhondt

© Stefaan Temmerman

Director Lukas Dhont made a big impression with his debut film ‘Girl’. The film already had an impressive track record at home and abroad. The film won the prize for best debut at the Cannes Film Festival, as the first Flemish film ever. ‘At the age of 26, Lukas delivers a magnificent debut’, says the jury. ‘He steps away from pigeonholing. His versatility, stubbornness, perseverance, guts and daring show a refreshing open mind that we want to see much more of.’

Literature: Peter Verhelst

© Stefaan Temmerman

In the category Literature the Ultima goes to writer Peter Verhelst. He made an overwhelming impression on the jury with his novel "Voor het vergeten". In that book he fights the grief about the death of his mother with his complete language arsenal. "With this tour de force Verhelst transcends himself and with this he reaffirms his unique place in Flemish literature."

HERE you can read what we wrote about the oeuvre of Peter Verhelst.

Visual Arts: Otobong Nkanga

© Stefaan Temmerman

The Ultima for Visual Arts goes to Otobong Nkanga, an artist who lives and works in Antwerp. She has Nigerian roots. In 2017 she participated in "Dokumenta 14" in Kassel and Athens and that year she also won the Belgian Art Prize. In her work she always starts from drawing, but she also expresses herself through other media, such as performance, photo and video work and textiles. "The way in which Nkanga combines the clear analysis of her own time with a special sensitivity makes an impression", the jury finds.

Cultural Entrepreneurship: Bokrijk

© Stefaan Temmerman

It is striking that the Bokrijk domain also won prizes. The open-air museum, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, is a laureate in the category Cultural Entrepreneurship. Bokrijk has long been a fixture in Flanders, but it had to deal with a dusty and old-fashioned image. The BKRK project (Bokrijk brands) wanted to breathe new life into Bokrijk by demonstrating that the craftsmanship of yesteryear is still relevant. And according to the jury, the open-air museum has succeeded in this. 'Entrepreneurship requires courage and future-oriented insight. Bokrijk has been made future proof for future generations in a unique entrepreneurial way via BKRK.'

These were the other winners of an Ultima.

Amateur arts: The Ostend Street Orkestra

© Stefaan Temmerman

A music orchestra with about 25 musicians from very different social and musical backgrounds. Jazz musicians Ilse Duyck (Ilse Duyck Group), Giovanni Barcella (BackBack), Bart Maris (Flat Earth Society) and Yamen Martini (Jaune Toujours) are the regular coaches.

Architecture: Marc Dubois

© Stefaan Temmerman

He occupies a unique position in the architectural landscape in Flanders. As a teacher at Sint-Lucas he inspired many generations of architects. He also has many publications on architecture to his name and introduces architecture to a wider audience through lectures, courses and guided tours.

Circus: Danny Ronaldo

© Stefaan Temmerman

He belongs to the sixth generation of Circus Ronaldo, one of the most famous circus families in the country. Danny and his brother David have already played more than 500 of the now legendary show ‘La Cucina dell'Arte’ in more than 20 countries. Last year Circus Ronaldo created a springboard for young artists with the new performance ‘Swing’.

Intangible Heritage: Reveil

© Stefaan Temmerman

A non-profit project that brings people closer together at All Saints' Day with music, dance and local life stories. Last year, ‘Reveil’ was ready for its fifth edition. Flemish fanfares and artists played intimate performances at more than 100 cemeteries.

Performing arts: d e t h e a t e r m a k e r

© Stefaan Temmerman

The theatre workshop supervises, supports, facilitates and supervises the development project of young performing artists and theatre collectives. The driving force is Elsemieke Scholte. Over the past ten years, the company has launched a lot of young talent.

Socio-Cultural Adult Work: Citizens' platform for Supporting the Refugees

© Stefaan Temmerman

The platform coordinates and informs all citizens' initiatives working for asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and expelled persons. The Citizens' Platform for Support for Refugees received the Democracy Prize in 2018.

The Ultima winners receive 10,000 euros and an Ultima award made by Stefaan Dheedene.

BILL Award : Hind Eljadid

© Stefaan Temmerman

In addition to twelve Ultimas, the BILL Award was also presented. This is a prize for young artistic talent. The winner this year is the Antwerp word artist Hind Eljadid, who is awarded for her committed slam poetry.

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