Iranian-French artist Marjane Satrapi wins Spanish Asturias award for communication


MADRID (AP) — Marjane Satrapi, the acclaimed Iranian-French filmmaker and cartoonist, has won the 2024 Princess of Asturias Foundation award for communication and humanities, the Spanish organization announced Tuesday.

The foundation said Satrapi was “an essential voice in the defense of human rights and freedom.” The judges described her as “a symbol of civic engagement led by women.

“Due to her audacity and artistic production, she is considered one of the most influential people in the dialogue between cultures and generations,” they added.

Satrapi is best-known for her monochrome autobiographical comic book and film “Persepolis,” a coming-of-age tale set against the Islamic Revolution in her native Iran.

Her graphic novels also include “Broderies” (“Embroideries”) and “Poulet aux prunes” (“Chicken with plums”), which was also adapted into a film. As a filmmaker, she has directed several works, including “La Bande des Jotas” (“The Gang of Jotas”) and “Radioactive” (“Madame Curie”), a biography about the Polish physicist Marie Curie.

“Persepolis” won the Film Critics Grand Prix at the Cannes Festival in 2007 and the César Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2008, in addition to being nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 2008 Oscars.

According to the foundation’s biographical note, Satrapi was born in Rasht, Iran, but her parents sent her to Vienna in 1983 to finish her studies because of the extremism in their country following the 1979 Revolution.

She later returned to Tehran and enrolled in the School of Fine Arts, but in 1994 she moved to France. She studied in Strasbourg and later moved to Paris.

In 2023, she coordinated the book “Femme, vie, liberté” (“Woman, Life, Freedom”) together with a group of artists and academics to illustrate the revolts that occurred in Iran after the murder of Mahsa Amini in 2022 at the hands of the so-called “morality police.” The work denounces the repression and lack of human rights that Iranian society, especially women, suffers at the hands of the Iranian regime, the foundation said.

Satrapi was elected member of the French Academy of Fine Arts in 2024.

The 50,000-euro ($54,000) award is one of eight prizes, including the arts, social sciences, and sports, handed out annually by the Asturias foundation named after Spanish Crown Princess Leonor. They are presented each fall by the princess in the northern city of Oviedo.

The communication and humanities award was won last year by the late Italian author and philosopher Nuccio Ordine.

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