Entertainment Arts Australian artist beats Pussy Riot for art prize

Australian artist beats Pussy Riot for art prize

David Crooks
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Australian-based artist Daniel Crooks has won at the inaugural Prudential Eye Awards in Singapore, beating entrants including Russian punk band Pussy Riot.

Crooks, who was born in New Zealand but is based in Melbourne, won the $US20,000 ($A22,745) prize for digital video – one of five categories at Saturday’s awards.

The multidisciplinary artist uses a slice of an image or a frame of a video to stretch and distort cityscapes, making it pause and warp in what organisers say is “a mind altering experience through the passing of time”.

Also on the shortlist for the digital video prize was Sydney-based Baden Pailthorpe, who uses video and photos to create “loaded political commentaries on Western military aggression”.

Pussy Riot’s Punk Prayer video featured a protest inside a Moscow cathedral that landed the members in jail.

The video contained the group’s controversial protest stunt inside Moscow’s Christ the Saviour cathedral in February 2012, described by the band as a denunciation of political ties between Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church.

It led to three members being convicted on hooliganism charges and sentenced to two years in jail.

One of the three, Yekaterina Samutsevich, 31, was released in October 2012 after being given a suspended sentence.

The two others, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24 and Maria Alyokhina, 25, were released last month, two months early under a Kremlin-backed amnesty ahead of the Winter Olympics.

Pussy Riot’s protest came just ahead of Putin’s re-election to the Kremlin in March 2012. Video footage of the stunt uploaded online was later banned in Russia.

Journalists were not allowed inside the banquet hall in Singapore where the awards ceremony took place.

A statement by the organisers described Pussy Riot as a “feminist art collective”.

It said that Pussy Riot were nominated “for their performances described as ‘oppositional art’ including their world notorious Punk Prayer”.