press release

Shirana Shahbazi is this year's £15,000 winner of The Citigroup Private Bank Photography Prize. As Shahbazi walked away with the coveted winner's cheque, the four other shortlisted artists - Roger Ballen, Elina Brotherus, Philip-Lorca di Corcia and Thomas Ruff - also received a cheque of £1,500 each.

Shirana Shahbazi's work runs against the grain of the photography and film from Iran that tends to present an exoticised view of the culture. Instead, Shahbazi presents us with a wide range of images of everyday life in Tehran - an office block going up, a woman in a chador doing up her son©ˆs shoe-laces, a bride, a young soldier in uniform, a man in a comfortable living room pointing the remote at a TV out of frame, and so on - images remarkable for their banality.

These images belong to an ongoing series entitled Goftare Nik ('Good Words') which she presents in mosaic formations using whole gallery walls. What goes on between the photographs is as significant as the individual images themselves. The photographs are sometimes interspersed with a painting based on one of Shahbazi's photographs made by commercial painters in Tehran more used to painting cinema or political subjects. Born in Tehran in 1974, Shahbazi is now based in Zurich. She is shortlisted for her solo exhibition at The Photographers©ˆ Gallery last Autumn.

The announcement of the winner was made by the fashion designer Agnès b at a Champagne reception at The Photographers' Gallery, London on 28 February. The Prize was founded by The Citibank Private Bank in 1996 to reward the individual who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to the medium of photography over the past year, through exhibition or publication in Britain. Shirana Shahbazi joins the ranks of previous winners: Boris Mikhailov (Ukraine, 2001), Anna Gaskell (USA, 2000), Rineke Dijkstra (The Netherlands, 1999), Andreas Gursky (Germany, 1998) and Richard Billingham (UK, 1997). The Prize has become more popular than ever, with over 15,000 visitors a week so far. The exhibition of the five shortlisted artists' work ended 31 March 2002.

The Gallery and Citigroup Private Bank were fortunate in being granted an Arts & Business New Partners' award of £10,000 to build on their existing partnership for The Citigroup Private Bank Photography Prize 2002. The award money was put towards extending the exhibition to Citigroup's offices at Canary Wharf from 20 February to 15 March 2002, so as to enable Citigroup's staff to enjoy the exhibition at close quarters, thereby involving them further in the sponsorship itself. The award also enabled a number of staff events to take place in the exhibition space, which encouraged staff interaction and demonstrated Citigroup's commitment to their employees. A competition was also organised for Citigroup staff, to encourage their participation, as they had to guess who would win the Photography Prize.


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Citibank Photography Prize 2002

shortlist: Roger Ballen, Elina Brotherus, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Thomas Ruff, Shirana Shahbazi
Preisträger: Shirana Shahbazi