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During the opening of the Graduation Show at Dutch Design Week, the jury of the yearly Bachelor Awards announced that the winner of the Melkweg Award is Irakli Sabekia for his project ‘Voicing Borders’ (BA Leisure).

The Award
The winner receives €2,000 in prize-money and a 3D-printed trophy by DAE alumnus Olivier van Herpt. The winner was selected by a jury from sixteen outstanding Bachelor projects nominated for the awards. This year’s jury for both awards was chaired by Wendel ten Arve and consisted of Gerard Baten (senior designer at DAF Trucks), Sjoerd Ebberink (CMF designer at Philips), Nikki Gonnissen (graphic designer, founder of Thonik), Mireille Meijs (senior designer at Royal Mosa) and Martijn Paulen (director of Dutch Design Foundation).

The Melkweg Award is presented each year to a truly unique talent among the DAE Bachelors graduates. The winning graduation project must be both highly original and full of potential. In this light, the jury concludes that they are ‘convinced by the power of Irakli Sabekia’s design and the way in which he tells it’. They note that: ‘the presentation is conceptually very strong but also all his design decisions contribute to this objectified and honourable way of storytelling. A beautiful, politically charged project that objectivises history and thereby gives voice to the suppressed, including himself. It pleases the jury to give the Melkweg Award 2019 to Irakli Sabekia.’

The jury elaborates: ‘Irakli Sabekia originates from the region called Abkhazia in the northwestern part of Georgia. Together with South Ossetia, Abkhazia makes approximately 20 % of Georgia, which remains occupied by Russia since 2008. A razor wire fence that stretches across the countryside marks the border. It not only cuts through countryside but also cuts through villages, some of which were demolished. In his project ‘Voicing Borders’, Irakli Sabekia wants to give voice to the traumatized landscape and its inhabitants. He designed a transmitter that can be hooked up to the barbed wire, turning it into an antenna. He broadcasts in Morse code the names and geographical coordinates of the 16 villages that were destroyed. The jury was impressed by his subversive act that uses the material that makes the occupation manifest, razor wire, as a medium of communication.’ Please read the full jury report here.

The other projects nominated for the Melkweg Award 2019 were Camille Brabant with ‘Aether’, Satomi Minoshima with ‘Skin Tote’, Paisley Fried with ‘Somatic Symptoms’, Herry Lee (Hung Sheng) with ‘Feetish’, Valentina Mariño Arboleda with ‘Silence of Blue’, Léa Cadiou with ‘Faire son Beurre’, and Yarden Colsey with ‘Old Dog New Tricks’.

Previous winners of the Melkweg Award were Ines Sistigia with ‘Tactile Bond’ (2018), Marie Caye with ‘SAM’ (2017), Wouter Corvers with ‘1:1.16’ (2016) and Jos Klarenbeek with ‘Cowtarium’ (2015).

Photograph by Angeline Swinkels

Published: 21-Oct-2019 14:33


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    Irakli Sabekia. Photography by Iris Rijskamp