Prix Pictet, the World's First Photography Prize Focused on Sustainability, Opens Global Tour with exhibition at DIFC

Works of 18 of the world's most eminent photographers displayed at exhibition

Prix Pictet, the world's first photography prize focused on sustainability, started its global tour in Dubai today with an exhibition of its shortlisted works at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

The exhibition features the photographic works of the winner of the Prix Pictet 2008 prize, Benoit Aquin, and 17 of the world's most eminent photographers. The first ever Prix Pictet was awarded to Benoit Aquin by Kofi Annan, Nobel Laureate and former Secretary General of the United Nations. The winners were announced at an exhibition of the shortlisted work and a gala dinner in Paris on 30 October, 2008.

Launched this year, Prix Pictet is a partnership between the Swiss private bank Pictet & Cie and the Financial Times. The award seeks to bring sustainability to life by rewarding photographers for art that is not only powerful, but also conveys a message of urgent global significance. In its first year, entrants, recommended by a group of 49 worldwide nominators, were asked to address the subject of water as it relates to sustainability.

HE Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Managing Director of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority said: "We are pleased to extend our support to the Prix Pictet as part of our commitment to sustainability, which is at the core of socially responsible business. It is our firm belief that policies and practices that promote sustainability are critical to economic growth and development. The exceptional photographs displayed at the Prix Pictet exhibition in Dubai will serve to raise awareness of sustainability both in the business community and the larger society."

Michael Benson, Director of Candlestar and Secretary of the Prix Pictet said: "We thank DIFC for its support in hosting the first exhibition of the Prix Pictet 2008 Global Tour in Dubai. This Global Tour will help immensely to raise awareness and understanding of the urgent need for adopting sustainable practices across the world. Photography has the power to influence opinions and inspire positive change. The powerful images exhibited at the event will help keep sustainability at the forefront of the global environmental debate."

The photographs featured at the exhibition are dramatic with powerful environmental stories behind them. One of the highlights is an image by Benoit Aquin of man-made deserts in China - where farming techniques have transformed over 400,000 square kilometres of cropland into desert - an area equivalent to more than half the farmland in Canada.

Following the event at DIFC, the Prix Pictet 2008 exhibition will tour internationally prior to the launch of the 2009 award.

Apart from Aquin, the photographers shortlisted for the prize include Edward Burtynsky, Jesus Abad Colorado, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Sebastian Copeland, Christian Cravo, Lynn Davis, Reza Deghati, Susan Derges, Malcolm Hutcheson, Chris Jordan, Carl De Keyzer, David Maisel, Mary Mattingly, Robert Polidori, Roman Signer, Jules Spinatsch, Munem Wasif.

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