Description of the Prize
The 2009 North-South Prize was the work of the artist Livio de Morais. Of Mozambican origin, living in Portugal, LÝvio de Morais has been working with the North-South Centre and has also been involved in humanitarian projects with UNESCO.
This year, the prize is an allegory of our universal mother, Earth, embracing its two children, the North and South. We can imagine them as identical twins, monozygotic, with the same genetic heritage, or as fraternal twins, a girl and a boy, whose interaction has the power to give life. In any case, the mother and her two children are an inseparable family and can only fully flourish together.
If she was human, the mother would be Lucy, our common African ancestor. If she was divine, she would be 'Mother Earth', presiding over the natural processes of fertility and fecundity, whose cult goes back to the Palaeolithic and beyond civilizations: Mahimata for the Hindus, Isis for the Egyptians, Gaia for the Greeks, Tellus for the Romans, Nerthus for the Germanic people, Frigg for the Nordic people, Uma´ for Mongols...
As for the twins, instead of Rˇmulo and Rowing or Adam and Eve, it could be the first couple of the African mythology, made up of mixed twins created by God, when the sun was at its height and who, having decided to free themselves from the divine authority, sought refuge on Earth, for better or for worse.
The statue is made out of bronze, an ancient and timeless material, extracted from the heart of the earth. The artist used the African technique of "cire perdue" and the technique of bronzes of Benin. In terms of the shape, the entwined body wishes to express the idea of human solidarity and giving to others.
The statue is set on a base made of African wood, simple and warm, the "Tola". The base is circular to evoke the circular shape of planet Earth, the privileged place for human life. The meridians and lines traced on the base do not represent borders, but space and time, the dynamics of the night, of the day, the passing of time and the history of mankind itself.
In aesthetic terms, the statue has a smooth surface. The noble colour black was chosen as a symbol of recogntion of the value and dignity of the prize winners.