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The Prix Pictet harnesses the power of photography to communicate vital messages to a global audience. Established in 2008, it is now recognized as the world’s leading prize in photography and sustainability. The theme for the third cycle of the Prix Pictet, which ends with this first exhibition in Beirut, was Growth.
From the dizzying expansion of our cities with their ever increasing dependency on scarce natural resources to the relentless growth of population, Growth is both a blessing and a curse. Societal growth and expansion is perhaps the most significant challenge facing humanity in the early decades of the 21st century. We face a global crisis in land use and agriculture that threatens to undermine the very health, security, and sustainability of our civilization. These issues and many more are addressed with vitality and insight by the photographers nominated for Growth.
The twelve outstanding artists shortlisted for the awardwere: Christian Als, Denmark; Edward Burtynsky, Canada; Stéphane Couturier, France; Mitch Epstein, USA (Winner); Chris Jordan, USA (Commission); Yeondoo Jung, South Korea; Vera Lutter, Germany; Nyaba Leon Ouedrago, Burkina Faso; Taryn Simon, USA; Thomas Struth, Germany; Guy Tillim, South Africa and Michael Wolf, Germany.
The exhibition of work by these artists has been touring since in March 2011, when the prize was presented to the American photographer, Mitch Epstein, for his series American Power. In making the award, Kofi Annan, Honorary President of the Prix Pictet, said: ‘These extraordinary photographs, and those of the other finalists, show us why a new economic model is needed - one that is global, inclusive, cooperative, environmentally aware and science-based.'
Commenting on the forthcoming exhibition at Ayyam Gallery, Jacques de Saussure, Managing Partner of Pictet & Cie, said:
‘The exhibition of photographs by the artists shortlisted for the Prix Pictet is in great demand from museums and galleries throughout the world. Such is the quality of the work, we have found it impossible to satisfy every request. Because the Prix Pictet is a global prize that addresses global issues, it is important that we reflect this in the geographical spread of our exhibitions. For this reason we were delighted to accept the invitation from the Ayyam Gallery to exhibit the Prix Pictet in Beirut for the first time. I am sure we shall return.’