Gibraltar Cultural Services, on behalf of the Ministry of Culture have announced the results of the 2nd Cultural Awards. This year the winners were presented with their awards at a pre-recorded event at the Sunborn Hotel, to ensure adherence with all the current public health guidelines relating to COVID-19. The recorded show announcing the winners was subsequently shown on GBC and GCS social media platform.

The Awards aim to celebrate the best of Gibraltar’s arts and culture, looking at the achievements and successes of individuals and groups between July 2019 and June 2020. These awards recognise and highlight cultural potential, ability, talent and achievement, whilst at the same time supporting the community’s cultural development.

The selection process included an open invitation to the public for nominations, which led to a shortlist approved by the Cultural Awards Board. The public were then invited to be part of the process and vote for the shortlisted nominees via a telephone vote supported by Gibtelecom. This year the Board also decided to introduce two new awards as a result of the impact of COVID-19 and it also exclusively chose some of the recipients.

Following this process, the Award winners are as follows:

CULTURAL AWARDS BOARD OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT – awarded to JAKE TORRES Inspired during lockdown, 8-year old Jake wrote and illustrated a book on the Corona Virus which sold 1200 copies and raised over £7,500 for children’s charities. Positively received on social media in Gibraltar, ‘Corona Travel’ also travelled around the world. This led to Jake’s involvement in a global collaboration book about Mother Nature and the environment entitled ‘Am I Finally Free’, with other young authors and artists from London, Singapore and Indonesia. This Award is a discretionary award given by the Board, who felt Jake’s vision, imagination, and generosity needed to be recognised and applauded.

JUNIOR AWARD for Under 15’s – awarded to ADITYA DHANWANI
This pianist won the 2020 Gibraltar Young Musician of the Year award for an accomplished performance. Adi also provided piano recitals during lockdown, as part of the virtual musical concerts hosted on social media by GAMPA, and was selected for the Parasol Foundation’s scholarship for “Promising and Potential student”, which he co-shared. He is described as an engaging performer with an impressive work ethic.

YOUTH AWARD for Under 25’s – awarded to AMY WINK
This dancer made podium claiming a Silver medal at the 2019 Dance World Cup in the junior, modern and contemporary solo categories, a competition featuring 6000 dancers. Here, Amy was also awarded three scholarships, two in Madrid in recognition of her modern, lyrical and contemporary work and one in Paris for her ballet presentation. The 15-year-old also took the Best Female Dancer award at the 2020 Gibraltar International Dance Festival.

SENIOR AWARD for Over 25’s – awarded to MARIBEL MATTHEWS
This artist has had a busy year exhibiting both locally and abroad, raising awareness of climate change and the environment through her art. Maribel received the ‘Artist of the Year’ award from a New York magazine and was also acknowledged in Florence by Efeccto Arte. Maribel was one of 20 artists that received the ‘Michelangelo International Prize’ in Rome, with her work then published in a couple of magazines.

Led by Senior Youth Worker Charlene Figueras, the ‘Find Your Brave’ photography exhibition and project raised awareness of mental health. The project aimed to build the confidence and self-esteem of young people, by encouraging them to appreciate their individual attributes. The Gibraltar Youth Production Team (GYPT) developed their production skills by taking a photographic set to 4 youth clubs and GAMPA to capture original portraits. Around 70 participants were involved, resulting in a photo exhibition at the GEMA Gallery to coincide with the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Week.

This year’s award goes to a man who has written over a dozen publications broaching on Gibraltarian culture and promoting the Rock’s identity traits. Mark Sanchez’s body of work includes novels, short stories, essays, memoirs, journals and historical studies, and form the basis of discussion on radio programmes and at numerous top European universities. As interest in Gibraltar continues to grow, Mark’s work is referenced and discussed in many top scholarly journals. This year Mark was one of 22 authors participating in a publication focusing on the Mediterranean. Mark uses an autobiographical element in his writing, often recalling childhood experiences and memories. He endeavors to promote Gibraltar thorough his varied projects and strongly believes Gibraltar needs its own national literature.

Bringing together musicians of all ages to entertain Gibraltar during a period of uncertainty, the recipients of this award demonstrated the uniqueness of Gibraltar’s community spirit. Led by Dion Mifsud and Nolan Frendo, the initiative saw special collaborations by former groups working together, and musicians joining forces to demonstrate their love and passion for creating. Their talents also extended into areas of sound and vision with brilliant recordings produced and edited, placing our musicians and artists frontline. The Friday Night Live concept was celebrated with hundreds taking to their sofas every Friday to enjoy hours of local entertainment featuring some special themed productions as the weeks progressed. A great example of how music has the power to unite. This one-time award is presented to Dion and Nolan, but it also recognizes all those artists who gave of their time and talent to contribute to this innovative and worthy project.

THE GIBRALTAR CULTURAL SERVICES AWARD for extraordinary achievement was presented to KAREL MARK CHICHON
This award recognises an exceptional individual that has already achieved international recognition and success. For his distinguished career with numerous accolades and plenty of highlights, Karel Chichon was a natural choice. His biography is impressive, describing him as thrilling audiences with his temperament, passion and musicianship. His services to music and achievements within the profession have already been recognised at the highest level, with an OBE in 2012, and his election as a Fellow of the Royal Academy in 2016. Karel is an innovator and ambassador influencing both in his homeland and abroad.

THE MINISTRY OF CULTURE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD was presented by the Minister for Culture Prof. Dr John Cortes MBE MP to ARTHUR HARPER.
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognises Arthur Harper’s dedication, commitment, innovation and services to photography in Gibraltar. Arthur, or Arturo, as he is known to his friends, is described as a humble and unassuming man who has worked tirelessly over the years to raise the profile of photography within the arts in Gibraltar. Elected Chairman of the Photographic Society in 1977, a post he held for 36 years, he drove the group and introduced changes and initiatives that still exist today. Serving as a friend and mentor too many, he was instrumental in securing premises for the group and developed it into the dynamic club that exists today. Personal accomplishments include the rediscovery of the Gibraltar Campion (together with Leslie Linares & John Cortes), and co-authoring of the ‘The Flowers of Gibraltar, a field guide to Gibraltar’s flora’. Now aged 92, he has certainly paved the way for future photographers on the Rock.

Minister for Culture, the Hon Prof Dr John Cortes MBE MP said:
“The Cultural Awards are a recognition, not just of the achievements of those who receive it, but of the richness and standard of Culture in our community, and the calibre of all its players. I want to thank all who have taken the trouble to nominate, all who have voted, and the panel itself for supporting the Awards and in this way supporting Culture. Gibraltarian Culture continues to develop an identity of its own, clearly demonstrated by its resilience through COVID times, and by how it has continued to be at the heart of the community throughout this time. I congratulate all nominees, and in particular the winners, and if I may be permitted to specifically mention the winner of the Ministry for Culture Lifetime Achievement Award, Arthur Harper, at the young age of 92. His lifetime dedication to the Art and Science of Photography, and to the knowledge and conservation of plants in Gibraltar have been exemplary and are an inspiration to young and old alike.”