French clothing firm Lacoste censors, expels Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour from prestigious contest

Lacoste has demanded the removal of work by Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour from the shortlist for the €25000 Lacoste Elysee Prize that is awarded by the Swiss Musee de I’Elysee with sponsorship from the firm. 

Sansour was among eight finalists shortlisted for the 2011 prize. According to a press release issued by Sansour, “Lacoste stated their refusal to support Sansour’s work, labelling it ‘too pro-Palestinian.’”

Sansour refuses to sign statement that she withdrew voluntarily

Sansour, who is based in London, is a native of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. The press release explains:

As a nominee, Sansour was awarded a bursary of €4,000 and given carte blanche to produce a portfolio of images for the final judging. In November 2011, three photos for Sansour’s Nation Estate project were accepted, and she was congratulated by the prize administrators on her work and professionalism. Sansour’s name was included on all the literature relating to the prize and on the website as an official nominee. Her name has since been removed, just as her project has been withdrawn from an upcoming issue of contemporary art magazine ArtReview introducing the nominated artists.

In an attempt to mask the reasons for her dismissal, Sansour was asked to approve a statement saying that she withdrew from her nomination ‘in order to pursue other opportunities’. Sansour has refused.

Søren Lind, Sansour’s assistant, told The Electronic Intifada today that the Lacoste company had yet to give any public response on the matter. A Google-cached image of the official Elysée Prize website captured by The Electronic Intifada proves that Sansour’s name was on the shortlist until at least 12 December, and then removed on the current version.

Sansour’s multimedia project Nation Estate was “conceived in the wake of the Palestinian bid for UN membership. Nation Estate depicts a science fiction-style Palestinian state in the form of a single skyscraper housing the entire Palestinian population. Inside this new Nation Estate, the residents have recreated their lost cities on separate floors: Jerusalem on 3, Ramallah on 4, Sansour’s own hometown of Bethlehem on 5, etc.”

For more information on Sansour’s work, visit her website

What in the fresh hell is this? Ridiculous, uncalled for. Humiliating. And the audacity to ask Sansour to approve the statement of her ‘withdrawal’? 

I cannot wait for Lacoste’s condescending PR reply. 

Posted: December 21, 2011 • 10:21 PM
With: 13 notes
Filed Under: #Larissa Sansour #Palestine #Nation Estate #Lacoste #Lacoste Elysee Prize #I can't
  1. purplebeatnik reblogged this from ishhara
  2. elsebas reblogged this from ishhara and added:
    Good thing that the museum has decided to take the artist side at the least...
  3. nostalgicwiththestateofmind said: Wow
  4. ishhara posted this