Bronze Panther 2022 to Angélique Kidjo


Angélique Kidjo. Photo: Julia Autio




Villa Karo culture award Bronze Panther 2022 to Angélique Kidjo


The world-class artist, star and social influencer born in Ouidah, Benin, will receive on Sunday 14.8. the cultural award given to her by Villa Karo.


Kidjo's long-term work for intercultural encounters and understanding is significant and undeniable. She is world famous for her music and has been awarded e.g. with five Grammys. Last year, Time magazine chose her among the 100 most influential people in the world.


Established in 2001, the Bronze Panther is Villa Karo's cultural award, which is awarded annually to a person, company or community that has significantly promoted mutual understanding and reduced prejudices between different cultures.


"My legacy is not only about legacy, it’s about how we, as a human family, learn to live together within our difference," Kidjo has said. In addition to music, she has done long-term work to promote the education of children, especially girls, and the employment of women in West Africa.


According to Kidjo, society cannot be changed without the people themselves being involved in the change. She often talks about how the color of your skin doesn't define who you are, because the same red blood flows under every skin. "We at Villa Karo share these values and this worldview wholeheartedly, and we work towards the same common vision," says Executive Director of Villa Karo, Julia Ojanen.


Villa Karo is a cultural center and residence founded by writer Juha Vakkuri, located in the village of Grand-Popo in Benin, and offers working spaces for artists, researchers and professionals in the field of culture. Already since 2000, the association has been building cultural bridges by increasing the knowledge of artists, researchers and cultural influencers about West Africa and by promoting cultural interaction and interaction. The Villa Karo Bronze Panther award is also a reminder of the famous bronze craftsmanship of the Kingdom of Benin.


Kidjo has previously performed five times in Finland and also once at Villa Karo in Grand-Popo. The bronze panther will be awarded to Angélique Kidjo on August 14. right before her Huvila tent concert. The Villa Karo cultural prize is awarded for the second time to a Beninese musician.





The history of the bronze panther dates back to the 16th century Kingdom of Benin, territory of present-day Nigeria. The panther or leopard was a symbol of the ruler: the king himself was named "son of the Leopard" and was celebrated as the "Leopard- King of the world." The bronze panther award is an example of the famous bronze craftsmanship of the Kingdom of Benin.


Award granted:

2021 Walter ry, association for the promotion of multiculturalism
2020 Matti-Juhani Karila,
retired reporter
2019 Soile Rinno, non-fiction writer
2018 Noël Saïzonou, musician, composer
2017 Elina Hirvonen, writer, reporter, movie director
2016 Katriina Ranne, Doctor of Philosophy writer and translator of poetry
2015 Ujuni Ahmed, youth counselor; Riitta Kujala & Catherine Othieno, Hyvästi Afrikka -filmmaker
2014 HAFF – Helsinki African Film Festival
2013 Street culture magazine Iso Numero
2012 Li-Lo Söderholm, Norsen secondary school principal
2011 Tiina Lindfors, dancer, choreographer
2010 Miia Jonkka, documentary director
2009 Wilson Kirwa, runner, storyteller
2008 Olli Löytty, non-fiction writer
2007 Marjo Kaartinen, docent of cultural history
2006 Ritva Siikala, theatre director, founder of the Kassandra Cultural Centre
2005 Hasse Walli, composer, musician
2004 Antonia Ringbom, animation film director
2003 Aune Laaksonen, Director of the Kerava Art Museum
2002 Kaisu Isto, Yle's film buyer
2001 Heikki Salojärvi, book publisher and translator