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article imagePussy Riot loses award at arts show — vows to continue activism

By Justin King     Jan 18, 2014 in Entertainment
Singapore - Melborne artist, Daniel Crooks was chosen over the Russian art collective Pussy Riot at the Prudential Eye Awards in Singapore. The award was given in the digital/video category.
Crooks was born in New Zealand and is an interdisciplinary artist. He was recognized for his ability to manipulate and distort videos at the awards ceremony, which was held to honor and promote contemporary Asian artists.
Members of Pussy Riot were on hand in Singapore for the event. Two of the members just received amnesty for their protest at the Russian Orthodox Church’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow. The video of that protest was seen as a likely winner in the category.
The video, entitled “Punk Prayer” led to criminal charges of hooliganism and inciting religious hatred for three of the collective’s members. Two of the members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were imprisoned for almost two years because of the charges. The third, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released after an appeal in late 2012.
They were granted amnesty by Russian President Vladimir Putin just ahead of their two year anniversary in prison. The move was largely seen as a political decision by Putin to release the two controversial artists prior to the beginning of the Olympic Games in Sochi.
The prison sentences did not deter Alyokhina, who said
We will definitely continue our protests, and we will continue political activism to fight for prisoners’ rights,
Tolokonnikova said the group will be starting a human rights group that will advocate for prisoners’ rights and continued by stating
Human rights activism has always been part of political activity in Russia.
An Australian painter, Ben Quilty, won the overall award along with the $50,000 prize at the first ever Prudential Eye Awards.
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