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Princess of Asturias Awards 04/30/2024

Marjane Satrapi, Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities


Franco-Iranian cartoonist, film director and painter Marjane Satrapi has been granted the 2024 Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities, as announced today by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.

The Jury for the Award –convened by the Princess of Asturias Foundation– was chaired by Víctor García de la Concha and composed of Luis María Anson Oliart, Rosa María Calaf Solé, Irene Cano Piquero, Gabriela Cañas Pita de la Vega, Concepción Cascajosa Virino, Adela Cortina Orts, Estrella de Diego Otero, Miguel Falomir Faus, Taciana Fisac Badell, Álex Grijelmo García, Alma Guillermoprieto, Miguel Ángel Liso Tejada, Catalina Luca de Tena y GarcíaConde, marquesa del Valle de Tena, Miguel Ángel Oliver Fernández, Enrique Pascual Pons, Carmen Riera i Guilera, Diana Sorensen and Óscar Loureda (as acting secretary).

This candidature was put forward by María Sheila Cremaschi, Director for Spain of the Hay Festival of Literature & Arts, the entity bestowed with the 2020 Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities.

Marjane Satrapi was born in Rasht (Iran) on 22nd November 1969. Conditioned by the extremism of the 1979 Revolution, her parents sent her to Vienna in 1983 to finish her studies at the French Lyceum in the Austrian capital. She later returned to Tehran and enrolled in the School of Fine Arts, but, in 1994, she moved to France before graduating. She studied at the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg (currently, Haute école des arts du Rhin) and later moved to Paris. According to specialists, Marjane Satrapi is one of the most prominent names in international comics, author of what is, for many, one of the best graphic novels ever published: Persepolis (2000), an autobiographical story that narrates her childhood and adolescence in Iran, of which it has been said that “few works have had such an ability to permeate pop culture and, at the same time, be one of the best historical narratives of our time”. Persepolis won the Angoulême Coup de Coeur Award for Best New Author at the Angoulême Festival. In 2001, the second volume also received the award for Best Script at Angoulême. The third and fourth volumes achieved even greater popularity, garnering international success. In 2007, she teamed up with Vincent Paronnaud to turn the comic into an animated film. The adaptation won the Film Critics Grand Prix at the Cannes Festival in 2007 and the César Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2008, in addition to being nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 2008 Oscars. Other notable works of hers include Broderies (2003) (Embroideries, 2005) and Poulet aux prunes (2004) (Chicken with Plums, 2006), which was also adapted to film in 2011. In 2023, she coordinated the book Femme, vie, liberté (Woman, Life, Freedom, 2024) together with political scientist Farid Vahid and historian Abbas Milani, both Iranians, and French reporter Jean-Pierre Perrin, in addition to an international group of seventeen comic book authors (including Spaniards Patricia Bolaños and Paco Roca and several Iranians). In this work, she illustrates the revolts that occurred in Iran after the murder of Mahsa Amini in 2022 at the hands of the so-called "morality police", and denounces the repression and lack of human rights that, according to Satrapi, Iranian society, especially women, suffer at the hands of the regime. The Persian version of this book is accessible online for free to all Iranians.

In addition to the film adaptation of Persepolis, Satrapi has directed the films La Bande des Jotas (The Gang of Jotas, 2012), The Voices (2014) and Radioactive (2019), a biography of scientist Marie Curie. Another discipline in which she has stood out has been painting, with important exhibitions in Parisian galleries such as the Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont. This year, a tapestry designed by Satrapi commissioned by France’s statutory Mobilier Nacional is on display at the Hôtel de la Marine in Paris to mark the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris. Commander of France’s Order of Arts and Letters, Marjane Satrapi holds honorary degrees from the Belgian universities UC Louvain and KU Leuven. She was elected member of the French Academy of Fine Arts in 2024.

As stated in the Statutes of the Foundation, the Princess of Asturias Awards are aimed at rewarding “the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions”. In keeping with these principles, the Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities is to be granted to “the work of fostering and advancing the sciences and disciplines considered humanistic activities or any activity related to social communication in any of its forms.”

This year, a total of 47 candidatures comprising 15 different nationalities were put forward for the Communication and Humanities Award.

This is the second of the eight Princess of Asturias Awards to be bestowed in what is now their forty-fourth year. Previously, the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts was granted to singer-songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat. The corresponding Awards for Sports, Social Sciences, Literature, International Cooperation, Technical and Scientific Research, and Concord shall be announced in the coming weeks (in the preceding order).

As is customary, the presentation of the Princess of Asturias Awards will take place in October in a solemn ceremony presided over by Their Majesties The King and Queen, accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses Leonor, Princess of Asturias, and Infanta Sofía of Spain.

Each Princess of Asturias Award comprises a Joan Miró sculpture symbolizing the Award, a diploma, an insignia and a cash prize of fifty thousand euros.

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