The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting will take place in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland from 21-24 January 2020, under the theme, “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.”
As we mark the legacy of the World Economic Forum at its 50th Annual Meeting, so too do we celebrate the enduring contributions to society of exceptional artists. The cultural leaders receiving the 2020 Crystal Award are bridge-builders. They connect us to each other, they help us reflect on the human condition, and they provide visions of the world that can cut through the limitations of short-term or linear thinking. On the occasion of the 26th Annual Crystal Award, we are delighted to celebrate the leadership of artist Theaster Gates, choreographer Jin Xing, actor Deepika Padukone and artist Lynette Wallworth.
Join us as the winners are honoured at the opening session of the Forum’s Annual Meeting 2020 at 17.45 CET on Monday 20 January, webcast live at wef.ch/wef20.
Theaster Gates, for his leadership in creating sustainable communities
Theaster Gates is an artist who lives and works in Chicago. Drawing on his interest and training in urban planning and preservation, Gates creates works that focus on space theory, land development, sculpture, and performance. In 2010, Gates established the Rebuild Foundation to galvanize communities through neighbourhood regeneration and the development of educational and arts programming. Many of the foundation’s initiatives are centered around the revitalization of Chicago’s South Side, creating hubs and archives for Black culture, which serve as catalysts for discussions on race, equality, space, and history. Gates is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Visual Arts and the Harris School of Public Policy, and is Distinguished Visiting Artist and Director of Artist Initiatives at the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College. His work has been exhibited internationally.
“Special thanks to the World Economic Forum for this most prized Crystal Award. I am always reminded that the impact of the arts and artists is incomparable when we think about the transformation of cities and towns. I am honored to work as a believer in beauty and creativity and hope the work and the ideals that I lead with in Chicago have resonance throughout the world,” Gates said.
Jin Xing, for her leadership in shaping inclusive cultural norms
Jin Xing is a choreographer, media personality and China’s most popular TV host. She is a former male ballet dancer and army colonel, who was the first person, publicly, to undergo gender reassignment surgery in her country. She is the founder of the award-winning Jin Xing Dance Theatre, the country’s first independent dance company. Her television shows, which have included Venus Hits Mars, The Jin Xing Show and Chinese Dating, draw more than 100 million viewers a week and create a space for discussion on contemporary life in China. She is a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the French Government and received an Honorary Doctorate of Dance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
“In today’s complex and fractured world, I pursue my mission to be true to the society, to be a true voice for the public, as an artist, a public figure and as a human being. I’m grateful and honoured to receive this year’s Crystal Award. This honour encourages me to continue my mission and be crystal clear towards life,” Jin said.
Deepika Padukone, for her leadership in raising mental health awareness
Deepika Padukone is an internationally acclaimed actor, fashion icon and mental health ambassador from India. She has acted in close to 30 feature films across genres and won several awards for her performances. Many of her films also rank among the highest grossing films of all time. Padukone was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2014 and sought professional help to aid her recovery. In June 2015, she founded The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF) to give hope to every person experiencing stress, anxiety and depression (SAD). The foundation’s programmes and initiatives include nationwide public awareness and destigmatization campaigns, adolescent mental health programmes, funding support for treatment in rural communities, training general physicians in common mental health disorders, research and an annual lecture series featuring the world’s foremost thinkers and achievers.
"With more than 300 million people suffering with the illness, depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability in the world today and a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. It is therefore increasingly clear that, now more than ever before, we need to aggressively address what is an invisible and overlooked health and social burden. I am humbled and deeply honoured to be chosen for this year's Crystal Award and dedicate the award to the millions around the world who experience stress, anxiety and depression, and other forms of mental illness,” Padukone said.
Lynette Wallworth, for her leadership in creating inclusive narratives
Lynette Wallworth is an Australian artist whose immersive video installations, virtual reality and film works reflects on the connections between people and the natural world, as well as exploring the nature of resilience. She won an Emmy Award for her virtual reality film Collisions, which the World Economic Forum commissioned, premiered and executive-produced. She was named one of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy magazine for immersing audiences in the destructive power of nuclear weapons. Her 2018 mixed reality film Awavena, the story of the first woman Shaman from the Yawanawa tribe in Brazil, as well as her most recent works, have been made at the invitation of indigenous communities. She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Virtual and Augmented Reality and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Sundance Institute.
“I have sought to use my skills as an artist to bring unheard voices, including indigenous voices, into the rooms they have been excluded from. These voices ring out with resilience, persistence, power and grace. In supporting my work, the creation and the presentation of it, the World Economic Forum has helped me place it in front of those I most wished to impact, those whose decisions help shape our shared future. I am immensely grateful that these works, these voices, have been heard and are being honoured by a Crystal Award,” Wallworth said.
Follow the Crystal Awards ceremony live on Monday 20 January 2020 at 17.45 CET at wef.ch/wef20.