The 2018 Altaf Mohamedi Prize has been awarded to the Rev. Dr Webster Kameme of Malawi. Dr Kameme has been an example of the shared humanity that journeys together in dedicated service to the Christian churches, politics and our common humanity. The signing of the St. Andrews Declaration for a Shared Humanity started this journey in 2016 and despite events in Malawi and the UK the Dr Kameme kept his hope in that shared humanity and the building of a better world.
Altaf Mohamedi (1942-2005), an Indian artist was educated in London and later he returned to Bombay (Mumbai) and used his art to express his political ideas for a changing society. Being a member of the Communist Party, he moved his art to slums and factories to discuss the world with others, in order to change it, in order to dream and to be among the people. A note from Ashish Anand, director of the DAG Modern (New Delhi), summarizes the enormous richness and complexity of Altaf when he wrote ‘An affable, well-read, extremely friendly and pleasant person, and belonging to a wealthy milieu, Altaf nevertheless chose to align his work to a Marxist political ideology in which he was completely invested’. In 1968 he began his prolific production of art, first very much connected to Europe with his first exhibition at Taj Gallery, Bombay. His reflection against an apolitical world came to the canvas with his The Corridors of Alienation. It is the meeting and cooperation with other like-minded artists that made him realize that his art and social conscience was important, and together with Navjot, he worked in slums, labour camps, and factories, speaking to workers and helping with the printing of protest posters. Altaf led literary classes and workshops, exhibiting outside hospitals, factory gates, and labour camps affiliating himself and Navjot together with the Dalit Panthers, and taking their works to a Dalit colony in Chembur, Bombay.
Altaf Mohamedi remains an example to members of the Fundación Milarepa for his human courage and dialogue with the contemporary through art and several of his works have found a home at the Fundación Milarepa in Santiago, Chile, see https://fundacionmilarepachile.org/2018/07/31/arte-y-dialogo-con-la-india-en-la-fundacion-milarepa/ The Fundación Milarepa is planning a public exhibit of Altaf Mohamedi’s work in Santiago, Chile with the support of his daughter Sasha. The long awaited publication of his diaries will give another occasion to celebrate his life in New Delhi and Santiago, Chile.