Image from Lola Arias' play Mother Tongue
Image from Lola Arias' play Mother Tongue Photo by Miranda Barrón Quinteros

Lola Arias, the multifaceted Argentine artist whose work brings together people from different backgrounds through theater, film, literature, music and visual art projects, has been awarded the International Ibsen Award 2024. The award was founded by the Norwegian government in 2007 and announced every two years on Henrik Ibsen's birthday, with the winner receiving 2,5 million Norwegian kroner (approx. 300.000 US Dollars). The prize will be handed out in a ceremony that will take place at Nationaltheatret in Oslo on October 13th.

Arias is especially known for doing Documentary Theater involving marginalized groups, including war veterans, refugees, and individuals from the sex worker community. In fact, the Ibsen Award ceremony will coincide with the premiere of her ' latest work titled The Days Out There, a musical documentary theater piece starring women and trans people who spent years in prisons in Argentina and are now free.

In a lengthy statement, the award's committee praised Arias' work: "by bringing those whose stories are being told into the very process of shaping and performing the work, she has asked profound questions about ownership, agency, ethics and artmaking. Arias' work has been both profoundly grounded in the context in which it is made and resolutely transnational in its focus and impact."

Elsewhere in the statement, the committee highlighted that Arias' work "directs our attention not to what is shocking or fashionable, but what needs to be told" and that "her theater engages with contemporary society, without any intellectual dominance or arrogance."

Argentina playwright Lola Arias
Argentina playwright Lola Arias Image from the Nationaltheatret's website

Lola Arias' work has not only taken her across different mediums like theater, literature and film, but across frontiers too, garnering international acclaim by dealing with delicate subjects from all around the world with her own brand of theater. Minefield, which played at the Royal Court Theatre, in London in 2016, brought together British and Argentinian veterans of the Falkland/Malvinas war to share their experience of the conflict and life since. Atlas des Kommunismus (Maxim-Gorki Theater, Berlin, 2016) gathered the stories of women between the ages of 8 and 84 with backgrounds in East Germany and What They Want to Hear (Münchner Kammerspiele, Munich, 2018), is the reconstruction of the real case of a Syrian archaeologist trapped in German bureaucracy for years with no legal status.

She has also dealt with subject like Pinochet's ditactorship (The Year I Was Born), the Argentine dictatorship (My Life After), reproductive right and abortion (Mother Tonguer) and even her own mother's struggles with depression (Melancholy and Demonstrations).

She also has two documentary films to her credit: Theatre of War (derived from her production Minefield) and Reas (derived from The Days Out There). Her films have been screened at international film festivals such as Berlinale, San Sebastian, and BFI.

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