(JTA) — The Genesis Prize will not hold its annual award ceremony at the request of 2017 recipient Anish Kapoor, a refugee advocate who deemed a celebration inappropriate in light of the worsening Syria crisis.
Kapoor, an influential artist and social activist, and the Genesis Prize Foundation “agreed that in light of the escalating war in Syria and the resulting deterioration of the refugee situation there, it would be inappropriate to hold a festive ceremony to honor Mr. Kapoor and his work on refugee issues while children are being killed with chemical and other horrible weapons on Israel’s doorstep,” according to a statement by the foundation awarding the prestigious $1 million prize.
The statement cited a chemical attack and a bus bombing in April that led to a total of more than 200 casualties. The foundation said that it would instead raise funds to aid Syrian refugees.
The foundation announced in February that Kapoor, the son of a Baghdadi Jewish mother and Indian father, would receive the so-called Jewish Nobel. Previous recipients include violinist Itzhak Perlman, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and actor-director Michael Douglas.