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Pro Helvetia JHB bags Diplomacy in the Arts award

From L to R: Andre Le Roux, Business and Arts South Africa, Board Chair; Joseph Gaylard – Pro Helvetia Johannesburg, Head; Balz Abplanalp – Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa, Deputy Head of Mission; Kelebogile Sethibelo – Department of Arts and Culture, Deputy Director General; Germaine Gamiet, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg, Programme Manager: Music; Heidi Brauer – Hollard, Chief Marketing Officer

Pro Helvetia Johannesburg walked away with the Diplomacy in the Arts Award at the 20th Business And Arts South Africa Awards, staged this past weekend in a refreshingly relaxed picnic format at the Nirox Sculpture Park outside Johannesburg.

Pro Helvetia was recognised for its work across the Southern African region in promoting artistic and cultural exchange: “While raising awareness of Swiss contemporary arts, [Pro Helvetia] develops and nurtures long-term partnerships, initiates co-productions with artists from the region and organises tours and residencies”.

BASA describes the Diplomacy in the Arts award as being awarded in “recognition of foreign missions that contribute to the development and preservation of the arts in South Africa, as well as the continued prioritisation of cultural diplomacy between South Africa and the international community.”

Full list of winners here

As was noted by MC Lebo Mashile at the awards, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg joins a host of organisations, including BASA itself, that came into being or established a presence in South Africa in the early years of our new democracy.

“It is a great honour for our office to receive this award in this anniversary year, and I would like to thank a passionate, professional and tightly knit team for their unstinting efforts” said Head of Pro Helvetia Johannesburg, Joseph Gaylard.

“While Pro Helvetia does not formally operate under a diplomatic mandate, we understand our work, in a rather diplomatic way, as being about investing in relationships and networks, where possibilities can emerge for the creation and reception of significant artistic work.”

“In receiving this award we would like to acknowledge the central importance of our partnership with the regional office of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Harare in being able to position our work meaningfully and thoughtfully in South and Southern Africa, and the complementary work of the diplomatic missions across the region.  Finance from the SDC has enabled us to make a modest but sustained contribution during the course of nearly two decades to the development of a regional creative fabric, through supporting collaborations among Southern African artists and organisations, and the mobility of artists and their work across national borders within the region”.

About BASA (NPC): Business and Arts South Africa (NPC) is an internationally recognised South African development agency with a suite of integrated programmes implemented nationally and internationally. BASA encourages mutually beneficial partnerships between business and the arts, securing the future development of the arts sector in South Africa and contributing to corporate success through Shared Value. Business and Arts South Africa (NPC) was founded in 1997 as a joint initiative of the Department of Arts and Culture and the business sector as a public/private partnership. For more information on Business and Arts South Africa visit their website: www.basa.co.za.