The Order of Merit of Berlin awarded to Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung 

It is our great joy to inform you that the Berlin Senate has awarded Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung with the highest recognition issued by the State of Berlin: The Order of Merit of Berlin for his service to the city.

On the anniversary of the commencement of the Berlin Constitution of 1950, the Senate traditionally honours outstanding services to the State of Berlin by awarding the Order of Merit of the State of Berlin. On October 1, 2020, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, awarded the highest honor by the State of Berlin to ten citizens contributing greatly to society today – among them the founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung.

The press release of the Berlin Senate states: “He has also worked on various projects at home and abroad. The main concern of the curator, author and critic is to establish a decentralizing and egalitarian concept of art and culture among producers and recipients, especially in the western hemisphere. For this reason, the internationally renowned curator and theorist founded the project space SAVVY Contemporary to address postcolonial discourse and intercultural dialogue. With his work, Prof. Dr. Bonaventure Ndikung makes an extraordinary contribution to Berlin's development into a cosmopolitan, colourful and solidary metropolis.”

Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller: "Even in this year, which is associated with special circumstances, it is a great pleasure for me to honour citizens with the Order of Merit on the day of the Berlin Constitution, which came into force exactly seventy years ago, and thus to honour their work for the benefit of our city. They have shown extraordinary commitment to Berlin in a variety of areas. For this they deserve all our thanks." 

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung says: “This is a recognition of the work SAVVY Contemporary has been doing over the past decade. It is important to say that there is still very much to be done and with the support of a very motivated, intelligent and diligent SAVVY Contemporary team, as well as with the people of Berlin and beyond. But of utmost importance is that this medal is dedicated to the people of Anglophone Cameroon, who have been under a state of war that has led to hundreds of thousands of internally and externally displaced people. ”

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung has worked as curator, artistic director and consultant for various international exhibition projects or festivals around the world. He is founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin and the artistic director of sonsbeek20–24, a quadrennial contemporary art exhibition in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Ndikung was the curator-at-large for Documenta 14 in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany in 2017; a guest curator of the Dak’Art biennale in Dakar, Senegal, in 2018; and the artistic director of the 12th Bamako Encounters photography biennial in Mali last year. Together with the Miracle Workers Collective, he curated the Finland Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2019 and was a guest professor in curatorial studies and sound art at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. He is currently a professor in the Spatial Strategies MA program at the Weissensee Academy of Art in Berlin and is also a recipient of the first OCAD University International Curators Residency fellowship in Toronto in 2020. 

This year, Uschi Brüning, Prof. Dr. Karl Max Einhäupl, Petra Rosenberg, Jürgen Röhr, Elke Schilling, Jocelyn Smith, Dr. Helga Voth, Jutta Weitz and Siegfried Zoels also receive the Order of Merit of Berlin. 

Among the recipients of the last years are Monika Sprüth & Philomene Magers, Dieter Kosslick, Paul van Dyk, Peter Raue, Frank Castorf, and many more.