Panther prize sculpture: the big cat brittle tail.

It’s small, not too heavy, and immensely important. But how is the panther in the newspaper coat created in the first place?

A Panthera pardus – as small and light as our prize Image: AP

Ina’s desk in her Babelsberg apartment is flooded with light. It stands directly by the window with a view of the greenery, and bears witness to a flurry of activity: between the routers, drills, modeling clay and sandpaper, the two small panther figures are barely visible.

Ina and the panthers Image: taz

Cast from ceramic casting slip in a silicone mold somewhat battered by the years, they lie there, still completely naked, without their dress of taz newspaper scraps. One of them is even missing its tail, but fortunately it can be securely reattached with a plug-in connection and two-component glue.

The thin tails almost always break off when you peel the hardened ceramic figure out of the silicone mold, says Ina. She was disappointed when she unpacked the first panther, which was badly deformed. That’s why she had to extensively rework it with modeling clay and sand and file it almost endlessly.

A coat of commitment and moral courage, courage and justice

"Filing sounds a bit like going to the dentist and makes a mega amount of mess, but it’s also happy because you see a result at the end, so you have a real sense of achievement," she explains. The fine white ceramic dust created during sanding swirls from the desk into the whole room and also reaches the rest of the small shared apartment at the feet.

Ina’s roommate takes it in stride and is more amused than annoyed: "She asks me almost every day whether I’ve finally finished one of the panthers. And sometimes I think she takes a little pity, like when I was still sitting in our bathroom mixing ceramic clay very late the other night."

As soon as the panthers have taken on the desired shape, they are pasted over. Ina has cut out taz articles for them that deal with commitment and civil courage, with courage and justice, personal heroism in the panther sense, so to speak.

The time of the Panter

The 29-year-old has lived in Potsdam-Babelsberg for nine years, and recently handed in her master’s thesis on urban planning and urban development in the GDR, using her hometown of Hoyerswerda as an example.

She could actually enjoy the free time she has regained, but Ina is already making new plans. She has an exhibition in mind for the newly founded neighborhood association in the neighborhood, and she is also making the Panter sculptures. Ina knows the Panter Prize project well, having interned at the taz in spring 2015.

Ina takes a lot of time for the panthers; for her, the award sculptures, lovingly made by patient hand, are a sign of appreciation for the nominees. Not only does she want to create a perfect sculpture, but she also wants to be able to give our award winners a loving and personal memento to take with them on their journey.

A finished panther image: Hein-G. Petschulat

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