Madonna announced on Sunday that Lesmack Meza Parente is the first winner in her “Art for Freedom” project, the New York Times reports. The Mexican artist will receive a $10,000 grant for a non-profit organization of his choice for his film “El Gran Dictador” (embedded below), a remix of Charlie Chaplin’s closing speech from his 1940 film “The Great Dictator.”
First launched in September, Madonna began the “Art for Freedom” community as an outlet for global freedom of expression. In an interview with VICE, the pop star explained her concerns for freedom of speech and the horrors and persecutions she observed while on her last world tour. “Every place became more intolerant, more dangerous, more scary, the stakes were higher,” the singer said. “I felt like the world was collapsing.”
Through a cross section of social media that now includes a Tumblr feed, artists are encouraged to submit visual works, video, photography, and poetry that deal with social justice. A different piece is featured every day, and a winner will be chosen every month for the next year to receive grants for their organizations.
Watch Lesmack Meza Parente’s winning film, “El Gran Dictador”:
— Meredith Caraher
(Image: Madonna mural by Mr. Brainwash. Via Unurth.)