Nominees for the 2019 Anni and Heinrich Sussmann Artist Award

The Anni and Heinrich Sussmann Foundation is proud to announce the list of artists/artist groups who were chosen as a nominee for Anni and Heinrich Sussmann Artist Award. The Sussmann Foundation is a Vienna based foundation that gives grants and prizes to artists that do work that is politically committed to democracy and anti-fascism.

The winner artist(s) will be chosen from a shortlist of eight Artist(s) recommended by a diverse group of advisers who were selected based on their commitment to the principles of the Anni and Heinrich Sussmann Foundation and convey in their work the legacy of the Foundation. On November 7, 2019, we will announce the winner at a press conference in Vienna. The winner will receive a 5000 Euro award for their current artistic work.


List of Nominees 2019:

Ammar Abo Bakr

Abo Bakr’s revolutionary street art has cased walls in Cairo, Luxor, Frankfurt, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Brussels, journaling the Egyptian Revolution’s many turning points. He became most famous for his mural on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, leading to Cairo’s Tahrir Square that honors those who have lost their lives in ongoing clashes with the security state.

Ammar Abo Bakr studied at Faculty of Fine Arts, Painting Department, at Luxor University, where he now teaches. His passion is to educate and communicate through art, has taken his work from the studio to the public space. His graffiti and murals are as much about his own artistic expression as they are generating and contributing to a larger dialogue with the public.

Abo Bakr’s incessant drive to learn, preserve and create drove the then young lecturer at Luxor’s Faculty of Fine Arts on a quest to study the cultural heritage of Upper Egypt in 2004, even bringing him to live alongside the Sufi teachers themselves. A desire to preserve this rich artistic tradition prompted Abo Bakr, together with a group of colleagues and a professor, to found the Mahrosa Association for Preserving Heritage and Modern Art, named after the village of Mahrosa where the artists acquired a house they reconstructed to serve as a center for educational workshops and exhibitions. The group would later acquire a second house for similar activities in New Gurna designed by Hassan Fathy, father of sustainable architecture in the Middle East.


Ammar Abo Bakr lives and works in Luxor

Heba Y. Amin

Heba Y. Amin grounds her work in extensive research that looks at the convergence of politics, technology, and architecture. Techno-utopian ideas, as manifest in characteristic machines of colonial soft power, are at the heart of Amin’s work. Starting from the idea that landscape is an expression of dominant political power, Heba Y. Amin looks for tactics of subversion and other techniques to undermine consolidated systems and flip historical narratives through critical spatial practice.

Amin teaches at Bard College Berlin, is a doctorate fellow in art history at Freie Universität, and a current Field of Vision fellow in NYC. She is the co-founder of the Black Athena Collective, the curator of visual art for the MIZNA journal (US), and co-curator for the biennial residency program DEFAULT with Ramdom Association (11). She has had recent exhibitions at the 10th Berlin Biennale, 15th Istanbul Biennale. Künstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin, Kalmar Art Museum Sweden, La Villette Paris, FACT Liverpool, Kunsthalle Wien. The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, the Kunstverein in Hamburg, Camera Austria, Berlin Berlinale 9th Forum Expanded Exhibition, and the IV Moscow International Biennale for Young Art. Amin also has an extensive repertoire in public speaking and was a recent resident artist at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien residency program in Berlin. Furthermore, Amin is also one of the artists behind the subversive graffiti action on the set of the television series “Homeland” which received worldwide media attention.


Heba Y. Amin lives and works in Berlin.

Website of Heba Y. Amin

James Bridle

James Bridle, an artist, writer, and publisher. His work “deals with the ways in which the digital, networked world reaches into the physical, offline one.” His work explores the aspects of the western security apparatus, including drones and asylum seeker deportation. Bridle has written for WIRED, Icon, Domus, Cabinet Magazine, The Atlantic and many other publications, and writes a regular column for The Guardian on publishing and technology.

He is one of the most prolific artists and writers that describes how drones are stripping citizens, especially from third world countries, out of their human rights for privacy and body safety.

He has brought into public debate, the idea of “Algorithmic Citizenship”. This type of “citizenship” is a critical artistic/scholarly response to the legal no-status experiences by Asylum seekers.

Bridle is an educator whose books and columns, are meant to encourage algorithmic literacy so people can best assess how to protect themselves against the power of big governments and big corporates.


James Bridle is based in London

photo: Mikael Lundblad

Rene Gabri / Ayreen Anastas + 16 Beaver

16 Beaver is the address of a space initiated/run by artists since 1999. Since that time, it has served as a place where those involved in art, politics, education, as well as a multiplicity of other contexts and fields of activity could discover and develop a common place to share research, questions, understandings, concerns, and struggles. Thus, it has been an open place to share, present, produce, and discuss a variety of artistic/cultural/economic/political projects. It has also been a site where discussions can lead to actions, and action can be discussed and rethought.

Ayreen Anastas is an artist living in New York. She has been part of 16 Beaver Group and other initiatives. She often prefers to do something else.

Rene Gabri: “This short note is written on Thursday, September 26 initiated exactly at 3am at the 66th street stop, while on the Bronx Bound 1 Train. It is the kind of day that crows don’t crow anymore. It’s the kind of day that the scandal is no longer scandalous. A pan shot widens to show a landscape without landscape, a waterfall without water, a cowboy, a buffalo, a mortuary, a noose, a jury hung. A day without justice and without breath. A day which exceeds itself in delivering the night. A day not unlike itself, a day like any other. It is a judgment day without judgment. It is a hell without the heaven. It is a day of reckoning with nothing. And thus, the fullest day. A day full of biographies whose lives escape them. 3:21, 157th street.


Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri live and work in New York

Website of 16 beaver

MAFIA. (Movimiento Argentino de Fotógrafxs Independientes Autoconvocadxs)

MAFIA is an Argentine collective of photographers who have been working together since 2012, defending and making visible social, political, gender equality, LGBTQ +, and human rights issues in Argentina and neighboring countries. They are a group of artists who make photographs and photographers who make art to generate reactions and concrete forms of visibility. Their complete works that include photography, cinema, and artistic actions are signed with collective credit. Just as they decide to use a Creative Commons license to allow the free circulation of their work in social networks by creating a vast horizontal network of people who use their images as their own language and take over this tool, replicating the protest in their social networks. Therefor his artistic work becomes a tool of resistance and a collective struggle.

This group is self-financed, the organization is horizontal, independent, and its way of working is totally collective. They use their work tools, their cameras, as an instrument to generate a visual discourse that manages to provoke, annoy, inform and make visible stories that many that the hegemonic media do not want to show.

MAFIA are creating photojournalism in which information is a service and not a commodity and in which the facts can be revealed in an informative, creative, and aesthetic way.

Its main objective is to make visible stories of people who are in the margins, those vulnerable and different, who are ignored by the political and social powers of control.

Their work is distributed mainly through social media channels, which allows maintaining independence from the mainstream media, which in Argentina are controlled primarily by the current government. The collective diffusion through the social networks guarantees the independence and democracy of the social debate that they portray with an artistic and committed look: “We show it as we see it.”




MAFIA are Luciana Leiras, Lina Etchesuri, Florencia Trincheri, Nicolás Villalobos and Gonzalo Pardo and they are based in Buenos Aires.

Nebojsa Milikić

Nebojsa Milikić is a cultural worker, independent researcher, and activist. Since 1991, he has been engaged in political activism, education, contemporary art. He participates in numerous research and artistic projects and actions that address the problems of social and political communities in transition. She writes about cultural and artistic production. He works at the Rex Cultural Center as the initiator and coordinator of projects for decentralization and democratization of the arts, debate programs, etc.








Nebojsa Milikić lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia

Joanna Rajkowska

Joanna Rajkowska (born 1968) lives and works in Warsaw and London. Rajkowska works with objects, films, photography, installations, ephemeral actions and widely discussed interventions in public space. Her unique artistic vision and methodology combines subjective narratives and critical discourses with a deeply felt concern for the spaces in which her works appear and the people they touch. De-familiarizing, de-humanizing and relating are her operating devices. She is interested in the limitations and the limiting of human activities, multiplicity of agencies and human and non-human relations. Instead of simply invading or occupying public spaces, she blurs the identities and hidden tensions associated with them, navigating around communal dreams and fears. Historical trauma, cultural discourse, aesthetic relevance and geopolitical references all blend in her works in ways which both distress and heal, challenge and resolve, attack and absolve. Rajkowska deals with all these issues an intuitive level, digging for desires and myths in ways which are not spoken of directly, far from a discursive level which would disrupt the physical and emotional realms involved. Her works resist interpretations which could offer simple solutions to complex problems. Instead, they are conceived of as social utopias to be tested in practice and frameworks for individuals or communities to experience, discuss and give meaning to.



Joanna Rajkowska is born in 1968 in Poland and based in Warsaw and London.

photo: Marek Szczepański

“The zad” (ZAD – NDDL)

On the western edge of France, 4000 acres of wetlands, fields, and forests have become a liberated zone, a vast laboratory of creative autonomy, where 200 people in 60 different collectives live together using creative forms of radical democracy. They live, work and create art with hundreds of local villagers, farmers, trade unionists, and national organizations, yet against the national authorities, which for 50 years tried to turn this land into an international mega-airport for western France. Incredibly, the battle for the bocage, as this lush European countryside is known, was victorious. After decades of relentless, violent attempts to cover the land with asphalt and fossil-fuelled flight machines, President Macron’s government conceded defeat in January 2018.

Perhaps such a working alternative would inspire others? Politicians feared just that. They called it “a territory lost to the republic” and sent in wave after wave of robocops in tank-like vehicles, and disposing of quantities of tear-gas projectiles injuring over 350 people. April 2018 saw the largest police operation in France since the uprising of May 1968. Incredibly, again, tens of thousands took part in creative acts of disobedience to defend the zone, and The zad lives on today. Now the battle has switched to the legal field of land-titles, as the artists, farmers, and activists wish to run the land they saved as a commons.

With its bakeries, surrealist vernacular architecture, pirate radio station, tractor repair workshop, countless theatre productions, brewery, banqueting hall, medicinal herb gardens, rap studio, dairy farms, fruit and vegetable plots, weekly newspaper, fiction and documentary films, flour mill, library and even a full working lighthouse, the zad has become a living example of the democratic dream of bringing art into life.

The zad is home to local farmers and villagers, activists and naturalists, squatters and trade unionists, ecologists and artists who have called into life a remarkable experiment in actually living the very values our society espouses and strives for: grassroots democracy, ecological sustainability, intersectional equality and justice, full creative freedom and extraordinary artistic experiment.

Throughout the 50 years of struggle, the movement has shown imagination and creativity in order to build a wide-ranging support base. The combination of resistance and building alternatives represents an undeniable inspiration for a different European future. The starting point for The zad was the resistance to a climate-burning airport-project that was going to destroy rare wetlands. What has emerged is a community that puts the care of people and the planet before profit and experiments with multiple forms of self-governance.

Many commentators say that to confront the climate crisis, we need to go beyond the growth economy, and to develop new commons that are neither market-led nor state-controlled. If the ZAD manages, despite the French government’s desire to not allow the commons to remain, to keep collective usages of the lands, it will become a long term experiment in commoning that will continue to be a beacon for activists and artists around the world. The zad shows that it is possible in 21st century Europe to live a life where agriculture is not separate from culture, where governance is not separated from everyday life and where resistance is not separate from creativity.

The zad is Europe’s largest land occupation: no police or politicians entered the zone for six years. The community developed its own systems of self-organization, horizontal forms of consensus decision-making, a system of community justice and forms of economic exchange without fixed prices. “We must bring into being the world we want to defend. These cracks where people find each other to build a beautiful future are important. This is how the zad is a model.” said Naomi Klein recently.

The 20th-century avant-garde’s dream was to merge art, life, and political transformation. The zad took on this challenge and, rather than make “political art,” representations of issues, decided to turn an entire territory into a living, breathing zone of direct creative action. Collectively creating new forms of life, new relationships with the natural world, taking back control of one’s everyday life (food/housing/governance), has become an art form. The term zad itself is a reworking of the planning term “Zone d’Aménagement Différé,” and “zad” (zone à defendre) is now officially recognized as a term in French dictionaries.

The ritual of 20,000 sticks is an example of the activities of the zad. In 2016, the French government was still adamant that the airport would be built and that the zad would be evacuated. In order to demonstrate the vitality and width of the movement supporting the zad, a large ritualized demonstration was organized: supporters were invited to come onto the zad with a walking stick or shepherd staff (as a reference to peasants struggles), plant it into the soil and make pledge that they would come back to pick it up and defend the zad in case of an attack by the police. More than 40000 people turned up, and 20,000 sticks were planted. The government pulled back.