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Mapa teatro. Heidi and Rolf Abderhalden

Claudia Andujar

Mapa Teatro, Claudia Andújar, and Péter Eötvös Awarded Goethe Medals


Münich, Germany

During an official award ceremony on August 28 in Weimar, Germany, siblings Heidi and Rolf Abderhalden of the Colombian group Mapa Teatro, Brazilian photographer Claudia Andújar, and composer-conductor Péter Eötvös will each receive from the president of the Goethe-Institut, Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, the Goethe Medal in recognition of their artistic and cultural work.

Every year the Goethe-Institut grants an official award from the Federal Republic of Germany to personalities who have contributed in a special manner to international cultural exchanges.  The theme for this 2018 edition of the event is "Life After Catastrophes." In an official statement, the spokesperson for the institute in Munich said that this year's "medal recipients—Heidi and Rolf Abderhalden, Claudia Andújar, and Péter Eötvös—are four exemplary personalities whose works offer different ways of opening new paths in response to catastrophes associated with wars, political crises, or environmental destruction."

Founded in 1984 and conceived as an "experimental laboratory, Mapa Teatro has brought together musicians, visual and stage artists for the creation of radical proposals through performance and documentary projects that address regional and global themes where politics, society, culture, violence, and the revolution of Colombian society intertwine. Since the establishment of the group its works have always reflected the situation of Colombia and the continent. In Testigo de las Ruinas (Witness to the Ruins, 2005) the duo address the evacuation and dissolution of a neighborhood.  In Los Incontados (The Uncounted, 2014) they analyze the different parts of the Colombian civil war and its use of violence. "Therefore, Mapa Teatro makes an important contribution not only to Colombian contemporary art but also to the country's reconciliation processes."

Since the 1970s, Swiss-Brazilian photographer Claudia Andújar has produced more than 60,000 photographs in an effort to protect the Yanomami people, the largest indigenous population in the Brazilian Amazon. The series of images are both artistic and political in nature. They create a panorama of Brazil that ranges from urban to natural environments. Her encounter with the Yanomami—whose existence is under threat because of the destruction of their habitat as result of economic interests—has greatly impacted her life and artistic work. In 1971, she travelled to the Brazilian Amazon for the first time as part of a photographic assignment for the Realidade magazine and became fascinated by the Yanomami's way of life. She lived with them in the Amazon from 1971 to 1978 until the military government expelled her. Then, alongside missionary Carlo Zacquini, anthropologist Bruce Albert and other activists, Andújar founded an NGO that fights for the establishment of a reserve to protect the Yanomami and the natural environment that they inhabit. As result of her efforts, this Amazon region was declared a protected area in 1992. Claudia Andújar captured the community life of the Yanomami in her most important series from the 1980s titled "Marked." The black and white portraits of the Yanomami were produced as part of a vaccination campaign aimed at improving their health. At 87, Andújar continues to be an important voice in South America as an artist and activist, not least because the situation in Brazil gives her no peace of mind.

For Hungarian composer, conductor, and professor Péter Eötvös, music represents an intense dialogue between composer, performer and public. Eötvös is one of the most successful opera composers of our time. His sound compositions pose existential questions for which he invents musical responses. With the International Péter Eötvös Institute for Young Conductors and Composers (founded in 1991) he created a platform to share knowledge and life experiences with new generations of creators. In recent years he has divided his time between conducting and composing, addressing political themes in works like the musical Golden Dragon, commissioned by the Ensemble Modern, which deals with globalization and migration policies. This work premiered in 2014 at the Oper Frankfurt. 



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