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Artist's search for freedom of gender expression wins 2020 Art Humanity Prize

Gender is a spectrum in which feminine and masculine are just two extremes. In between, there exists a multitude, or even an infinite, number of ways in which people might identify themselves - if only language allowed them to. 

Tristan Bartolini, an artist and student at Geneva’s Haute école d'art et de design (HEAD), was last night awarded the 2020 Art Humanity Prize by the Geneva Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the HEAD for his graphic project “L’inclusif-ve” on the expression of gender.

As gender, sexuality and individuality have taken on more fluid forms, language and its alphabet, have in contrast remained static.  Especially in Romance languages like French, which are bound by its masculine and feminine endings.

Bartolini’s answer was to create a graphic mix of letters by superimposing masculine and feminine endings to create new signs that signify inclusiveness and, as he explains, “to help people find their voice”.

Now in its sixth year, the Art Humanity prize was created by the HEAD and the ICRC as a way to engage young artists with international Geneva and humanitarian action. “It is more than a prize...it’s a way to engage and really try to build bridges between these two worlds,” Philippe Stoll, head of communication policy and support at the ICRC.  The prize encompasses the wider notion of humanity and not just humanitarianism, or humanitarian aid, he added.

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Bartolini was awarded the jury prize while interior architecture students Dany Champion, Karen Pisoni et Marion Vergne won the public prize for their project, CarEvents, which revisits the design and purpose of charity Caritas’ second-hand shops.

The trio reused and upcycled existing materials to create a new space at Caritas’ shop in Plainpalais, Geneva, taking into account the needs of social diversity, listening and solidarity.

"This project leads to a reflection on the conditions of human beings facing daily difficulties, whether social, financial or political," the said.

The other three finalists were Rokhaya Marieme Balde, with her documentary film “In search of Aline”,Alicia Dubuis for her project Primipare.info, a conceptual website project that explores the taboos around pregnancy, and Thomas Omoni Obiero, “A Storyteller, Disorder and Promises of Cure”.

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