Anish Kapoor donated his $1 million Genesis Prize money to five organizations focused on mitigating the global refugee crisis, reports the Jerusalem Post. Last February, Kapoor won an award from the Genesis Prize Foundation, which grants an annual prize that recognizes individuals “whose actions and achievements express a commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish community, and the State of Israel.” Recipients are given the opportunity to donate $1 million to charities of their choice.
“Like many Jews, I do not have to go far back in my family history to find people who were refugees,” Kapoor said in a statement. Kapoor, famous for his ambitious public art projects, was born in Mumbai to an Indian father and an Iraqi-Jewish mother, and has long been devoted to social activism concerning refugees. In 1991, he established the Holocaust Memorial for the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London after winning the Turner Prize. “Directing Genesis Prize funds to this cause is a way of helping people who, like my forebears not too long before them, are fleeing persecution,” the UK-based sculptor said. Last May, Kapoor canceled the Genesis Prize ceremony planned in Israel, explaining that a festive celebration of his contributions was inappropriate considering the ongoing violence happening nearby in Syria.
Kapoor’s grants will help support the International Rescue Committee, the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, HIAS (founded as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), Hillel International, and Help Refugees, all organizations created to aid migrants grappling with persecution, including those from Syria, Myanmar, South Sudan, and other countries. Among the more than sixty-five million people displaced in 2016, more than twenty-two million were refugees, according to the United Nations.