Statements of the jury

ZKB Patronage Prize 2021: Mallika Taneja «Allegedly»

«After spending a year and a half online, without haptic relationships with people outside our bubbles, it was finally time to come back to and enjoy live performances. It was a big question to be asked to sit down again in front of one’s computer screen on a nice summer evening in Zurich. And it was an even bigger surprise, when we found ourselves mesmerised by a Zoom performance, which grabbed our attention firmly for an hour and a half.

Mallika Taneja made the impossible possible with such bravado. She mastered the new medium making powerful and exemplary use of it in order to spread an important message across the world. She found a perfectly intimate setting to be able to address the urgent and relevant topic of sexual harassment, rape and consent in a delicate and meticulous way. We were taken by her resourcefulness, her conversational storytelling and her nuanced writing combining a multiplicity of strong voices. The topic and situation are well chosen – a complex, not too straight forward and ordinary story unravels. The clever use of audience interaction via the survey asking seemingly simple yes and no questions, connects us with others, helping us read the room while making us reflect on the difficulty of answering. 

‹Allegedly› is not only astounding in regard to the form and the content – the women took a risk presenting this topic at this time, offering something very important to the world in terms of courage and solidarity, scanning and studying the words that surround rape and sexual harassment in our society in painful detail. The piece is beautifully crafted and acted, allowing the charismatic actresses to shine, presenting lovely images as well as impeccably masterful timing and dramaturgy. 

Last but not least, we commend Mallika Taneja for her creative urgency, leading her to make this relatable, accessible and necessary piece in the midst of an artistically underwhelming pandemic.»

ZKB Acknowledgement Prize 2021: Edna Jaime «O Bom Combate (The Good Fight)»

«Brilliant Edna Jaime captured our attention by breaking the codes, taking traditional African dance to new dimensions. As initiator and leader of ‹O Bom Combate (The Good Fight)›, she invites a man to be her accomplice on stage. Together, they immerse themselves in topics such as workers’ rights, government corruption, redistribution of money, relationship of the body to the state with an urgent reflection.

The powerful beginning of the performance makes a strong statement, literally putting Jaime’s voice in the spotlight. As a soldier for the good fight, she embodies warfare through different tools, primarily her own movement.

‹O Bom Combate (The Good Fight)› throws a gaze to the past while confronting the present and opening on hopes of a brighter and more equalitarian future. Edna Jaime rebels against power structures by turning them around within the context of the piece, embodying and demonstrating what this future could look like.

We are happy to support Jaime’s potential and impact in African performing arts and beyond, as well as her ability to create impactful work regardless of precarious circumstances, the latter being a topic integrated in the piece as well.»