Thursday, 13 December 2012


outside the Royal Palace in Amsterdam

Rabih Mroue performing

Teresa Margolles, Prince Claus 2012 laureate

Washington Cucurto from Eloisa Cartonera

Santiago Vega and Maria Gómez of Eloisa Cartonera receiving the Prince Claus Award

See the Centre for the Aesthetic Revolution's visit to Eloisa Cartonera in 2011 here
Visit Eloisa Cartonera's website here

The Prince Claus Fund’s 2012 Principal Award has been granted to Eloísa Cartonera. This Argentinian non-profit publishing house creates handmade books of outstanding aesthetic and literary quality from waste material. Ten other artists, thinkers, filmmakers and organisations from countries that include Mexico, Syria, Burma and Somaliland/Somalia are also being honoured for their dedication to culture and development. On 12 December, HRH Prince Constantijn will present the Principal Award at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam.

Eloísa Cartonera
Eloísa Cartonera (established in 2003, Buenos Aires) is a graphic arts and publishing co-operative of handmade books made of recycled materials. The materials are collected by cartoneros, or ‘cardboard people’, unemployed who tried to survive after Argentina’s political and economic collapse in 2001.
Drawn to Eloísa’s social solidarity, both established and emerging Latin American writers, donate short stories, novels, and other forms of literature. The collective, small-scale method produces books that are much cheaper than conventional paperbacks. It provides income and cultural benefit to many at all levels of Argentinean society: readers, rubbish collectors, authors and artists. Eloísa Cartonera transformed ‘the book’ from an unattainable object into a widely accessible source of pleasure, knowledge and self development. The relevance and impact of the cartonera model even transcends borders. More than 60 independent cartonera publishers are currently operating in countries across Latin America and one has started in Mozambique.

the other recipients of the Prince Claus 2012 Awards were:
Sami Ben Gharbia, Cyber-activist, Tunisia
Habiba Djahine, Writer and filmmaker, Algeria
Yassin al Haj Saleh, Writer, Syria
Widad Kawar, Collector, Jordan
Teresa Margolles, Visual Artist, Mexico
Boniface Mwangi, Photo-activist
Phare Ponleu Selpak, Organisation, Cambodia
Ian Randle, Publisher, Jamaica
Maung Thura, Comedian, Burma
Maxamed Ibraahim Warsame, Poet, Somalia

Prince Claus Fund press release:
On 12-12-2012, Honorary Chairman of the Prince Claus Fund HRH Prince Constantijn presented Eloísa Cartonera with the Principal Prince Claus Award. The ceremony took place at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam as part of an exciting programme of performances and speeches by partners of the Fund.

“Eloisa Cartonera came up with a collective response to a context of crisis, by combining art… and creativity to promote expression and generate social and economic welfare.” – HRH Prince Constantijn

Preceding the presentation of the Principal Prince Claus Award, the work of Eloisa Cartonera, and the ten other Prince Claus Laureates were recognized in heart-felt speeches given by the HRH Prince Constantijn and First,Chairperson of the Board of the Prince Claus Fund Lilian Gonçalves-Ho Kang You. To open the event, Lilian Gonçalves-Ho Kang You gave a warm welcome address, stating: “We are grateful to our partners and laureates for amazing and inspiring us with their creativity, dedication and courage.”

The event consisted of performances by 2011 Laureate Rabih Mroue, Rima Khcheich and a tango by Pablo Inza and Moira Castellano.

2012 Prince Claus Laureate Boniface Mwangi participated in a Q&A and a film of clips documenting the work of all eleven laureates was shown throughout the event.

HRH Prince Constantijn took the podium and spoke about the significance of the Prince Claus Fund’s work and lauded the work of its laureates. Of this year’s Prince Claus Laureates, he stated, “They make their point not by arms but with humour; not by wasteful consumption but by ingenious reuse of products; not by controlling people but by empowering them and giving space for free speech and expression.” Of Eloísa Cartonera, HRH said, “This cooperative venture from Argentina publishes work from emerging writers and poets from the region in affordable hand-made books with recycled hand-painted cardboard covers. Eloisa Cartonera came up with a collective response to a context of crisis, by combining art, circular thinking, and creativity to promote expression and generate social and economic welfare. As such they present a positive example for us all.”

HRH Prince Constantijn presented Santiago Vega and Maria Gómez of Eloísa Cartonera with the 2012 Principal Award.

Director of the Prince Claus Fund Christa Meindersma gave a few closing words thanking supporters of the Fund and all the guests for their participation in this event.

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