Skip to content

Finland Prizes awarded to seven artists

Ministry of Education and Culture
Publication date 8.12.2015 11.00 | Published in English on 20.7.2017 at 9.56
Press release

The Minister of Education and Culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen awarded the Finland Prize to seven artists who have shown exceptional accomplishment. Among this year’s prize recipients were Finnish contemporary classical music composer Aulis Sallinen and actress Birgitta Ulfsson. Other prize winners were artist Adel Abibin, author and film director Hassan Blasim, author Nura Farah, choreographer Kenneth Greve and Espoo City Library Entresse.

Grahn-Laasonen handed out the Finland Prizes in Helsinki on Tuesday 8 December. The prizes are worth 24 700 euros each, with the money coming from Finnish lottery company Veikkaus.

Short introductions (check against delivery):

Adel Abidin (b. Iraq, 1973) received his Bachelor's Degree in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad in 2000 and Master's Degree in Media and New Media Art from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, Finland in 2005, where he continues to live and work. In the past few years he has directed projects in Finland at the KIASMA (Helsinki), in France at the MAC/VAL (Vitry-sur-Seine), and in the United States in residence at Location One (New York), as well as for the opening of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Doha in Qatar and at the Sydney Biennale in Australia.

Hassan Blasim (b. Iraq, 1973) is an Iraqi-born film director and writer who lives in Finland. He writes in the Arabic language. Blasim moved to Finland as a refugee in 2004. He has made four short films for the Finnish broadcasting company Yle. His short story collection The Madman of Freedom Square was long-listed for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2010. In 2014, he became the first ever Arabic-language writer to win the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for The Iraqi Christ.

Nura Farah (b. Saudi Arabia, 1979) was born in Saudi Arabia, and moved to Somalia as a child. At the age of 13 she immigrated to Finland. Her novel Aavikon tyttäret (Daughters of the Desert) is the first book written by a Somali author published in Finnish.

Kenneth Greve (b. Denmark, 1969) has been the Artistic Director of the Finnish National Ballet since 2008. He was trained at the Royal Danish Ballet School and at the School of American Ballet in New York. His dancing career started at the New York City Ballet and continued at the American Ballet Theatre and Paris Opera Ballet. He also danced with the Stuttgart Ballet and the Vienna State Opera Ballet before returning to the Royal Danish Ballet.

Aulis Sallinen (b. Salmi, 1935) is a Finnish contemporary classical music composer. Sallinen studied at the Sibelius Academy, where his teachers included Joonas Kokkonen. He has composed six operas, eight symphonies, concertos, and several chamber music works. He was awarded the Nordic Council Music Prize in 1978 for his opera Ratsumies (The Horseman), the work that launched the great Finnish opera boom.

Birgitta Ulfsson (b. Helsinki, 1928) is a Finland-Swedish actress who has acted, in both Finnish and Swedish, at the Helsinki City Theatre, Svenska Teatern (Swedish Theatre, Finland's Swedish-speaking national theatre in Helsinki,) and Lilla Teatern Helsinki (producing plays mainly in Swedish), as well as in more than 20 films and television series.

Espoo City Library Entresse

Entressen Library is both a vibrant and lively local library, serving as a living room for the Espoo city district's multi-cultural population. The staff speaks a total of 13 languages between them, and they have extensive knowledge about many cultures and literature from different countries. Half of the library is designed with particular attention to making sure that children and young people feel welcome. The library considers it its main task to make the digital and the physical library interact.

- - -

Finland Prize, est. 1993, is awarded in recognition of a significant career in arts, an exceptional artistic achievement, or a promising breakthrough. Up to 1998 there was also a Finland Prize for young art.

Photos from the event: