Artraker was initiated by Indian-born political artist Manali Jagtap-Nyheim as a way of bringing artists and peace-building organisations together to explore creative synergy, and to give recognition to an arts practice that is dedicated to making a difference in highly challenging environments.
Its launch in 2012 was supported by International Conflict and Security (INCAS) Consulting Ltd, International Alert, and Pulse Brands. Other partners joined Artraker and the first Artraker Award took place in 2013. It was followed by the establishment of "the Artrakers", a network of 17 shortlisted and trail-blazing conflict artists who are spearhard the development of the field and a creative dialogue with peace-building organisations.
The second Artraker Awards took place in 2014, offering three award categories and prizes of GBP2500. It was implemented with the support of a/political and the Gallerie Nikki Diana Marquardt (Paris), and Artraker institutional partners. It expanded the Artrakers network to include another 12 artists.
Following the 2014 Artraker Awards, Artraker institutional partners decided to make the awards biennial, also to allow for space to deepen the dialogue with the Artrakers and pilot initiatives that would further expand our understand of the potential of conflict art. Among these pilots was the Art of Peace Exhibition, which brought selected works by Artrakers to Sri Lanka and an exhibition hosted by Groundviews (Sri Lanka). Another pilot is the Positive Peace Project, which deploys art to tackle some of the big picture challenges facing peace-building today, including the divisive narratives, space that alienates and disenfranchises, and unimaginative leadership.
The Positive Peace Project is implemented by Artraker project partner, Artakt, and involves a heavy-weight Advisory Board consisting of Erik Solheim (former Norwegian Minister for Development, head of Norwegian peace-making in Sri Lanka, and current Chair of the OECD/DAC), Viktoria Mullova (renowned Russian violinist), Andrew Jack (veteran and award-winning reporter for the Financial Times), and Paul Williams (award-winning British architect, Stanton-Williams).
As part of its work to support the Artrakers, Artraker has also forged a commercial partnership with ArtRepresent for the sale and further profiling of conflict art and Artrakers.
Artraker is now in the process of registering as a Charity in Malta, which will enable it to attract other non-UK charitable funding.