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Hamja Ahsan. Photo: Urška Boljkovac.
Hamja Ahsan. Photo: Urška Boljkovac.

Hamja Ahsan Wins Grand Prize at Thirty-Third Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts

The Thirty-Third Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts, “Crack Up – Crack Down,” has awarded its Grand Prize to the London-based artist Hamja Ahsan. Born in 1981, Ahsan is the founder and cocurator of the DIY Cultures, an annual daylong festival that explores the intersections of art and activism, and the author of Shy Radicals: Antisystemic Politics of the Militant Introvert (Bookworks, 2017).

Ahsan was shortlisted for the Liberty Human Rights Award for his work on the Free Talha Ahsan campaign. A British-born poet and Hamja Ahsan’s brother, Talha Ahsan was extradited to the United States in 2012 and charged with providing material support to the Taliban. Before his extradition, he spent six years in prison in the UK awaiting trial. He was released in 2014 after he was sentenced to time already served.

Selected by a jury composed of Emily Apter, Jaroslaw Lubiak, Ištvan Išt Huzjan, and Pablo Larios, Ahsan will be invited to stage a solo exhibition as part of the biennial’s next edition. He is currently working on a project on the role of zines in the Hillsborough Justice campaign for the families of the ninety-six fans who were crushed to death at a British soccer stadium in 1989.

Curated by Slavs and Tatars, the biennial, which is taking place at nine different sites in the city, including the International Centre of Graphic Arts and the National Gallery of Slovenia, will run until September 29.