© Patrick Willocq. Walé Asongwaka Takes Off. From I am Walé Respect Me, 2013.
It’s official, POPCAP’14 announces the 5 winners for this years edition of the Piclet.org Prize for Contemporary African Photography. The winning portfolios selected from 720 submissions are by Joana Choumali (Ivory Coast), Ilan Godfrey (South Africa), Léonard Pongo (Belgium), Anoek Steketee and Eefje Blankevoort (The Netherlands), and Patrick Willocq (France).
The 5 series containing 10 or more images will be shown at 7 open air publicly accessible exhibitions starting with PhotoIreland Festival (Dublin), followed by ImageAfrique (Basel), Cape Town Month of Photography (Cape Town), Lagos Photo Festival (Lagos), Eyes On – European Month of Photography (Vienna), Festival Internacional De Fotografia de Cabo Verde (Mindelo), and concluding at Addis Photo Fest (Addis Ababa).
Hââbré, The Last Generation
by Joana Choumali
© Joana Choumali. Mrs. Djeneba (back), Abidjan, 2013 ~ 2014.
© Joana Choumali. Mrs. Djeneba, Abidjan, 2013 ~ 2014.
Abidjan based photographer Joana Choumali’s series Hââbré, The Last Generation explores scarification – markings created through superficial incisions made to the body. Hââbré means both writing and scarification in Kô, a Burkinabe language. Once common, this traditional practice is fading due to changing values and pressures. Few and far between, people bearing these markings as Choumali describes are typically only members of an older generation. Her portraits of individuals in Abidjan, question the links between the past and the present. As documents of the physical traces of shared values, and traditions of self-imaging within cultural groups, they reflect on how these are subject to change. Once the norm, and having high social value as she describes, individuals bearing these vestiges of the past, are now somewhat “excluded”. Joana Choumali was born in 1974 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. She lives in Abidjan Cococy, Ivory Coast.
Legacy of the Mine
by Ilan Godfrey
© Ilan Godfrey. (Portrait of King G), 2011 ~ 2013.
© Ilan Godfrey. (Wooden crosses at the Koppies, Marikana)
Cape Town based photographer Ilan Godfrey’s series Legacy of the Mine examines one of South Africa’s most important economic enterprises: mining. He writes, “mineral exploitation by means of cheap and disposable labour has brought about national economic growth, making the mining industry the largest industrial sector in South Africa.” Through images documented over a period between 2011 – 2013, Godfrey uses his camera to probe the underbelly of a mega-industry and its unsavory effects on communities and lives that he calls “forgotten”. Ilan Godfrey was born in 1980 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
by Léonard Pongo
©Léonard Pongo. 9A, a local rapper, poses as I photograph him after a concert the French Institute, 2011 – 2013.
© Léonard Pongo. E smiles at me during a family reunion, 2011 – 2013.
Brussels based photographer Léonard Pongo presents The Uncanny, a black and white documentary series he describes that “tries to show the collateral impact of the war instead of the direct hits.” Shot in the Democratic Republic of Congo post the 2011 elections, Pongo wanted to see his country beyond a singular narrative of crisis. Through time spent with family members, political and religious figures his lens captures intimate moments, sometimes sharp sometimes hazy. His subjective take as he asserts is, “not trying to deliver a truth but striving to understand people’s realities and construct my own.” Léonard Pongo was born in 1988 in Liège, Belgium. He lives in Brussels, Belgium.
by Anoek Steketee and Eefje Blankevoort
© Anoek Steketee and Eefje Blankevoort. Radio, Musambira, Southern province, 2014.
© Anoek Steketee and Eefje Blankevoort. Charles, 9.03 pm, Nyamirambo, Kigali, 2014.
Love Radio is a transmedia documentary by journalist and filmaker Eefje Blankevoort and photographer Anoek Steketee about the complex process of reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda. It is based on a popular radio soap program – Musekeweya (‘New Dawn’). Combining film with photography, audio, text and archive material, this ground breaking project eloquently straddles the boundaries between fact and fiction. Blankevoort and Steketee write that their photographs “do not take a purely documentary approach. The camera is used not only to raise social issues, but also as a tool for the imagination. By playing with light and partially directing the subjects, alienating images emerge, with the surroundings as a gloomy stage set.” Eefje Blankevoort was born in 1978 in Montreal, Canada. Anoek Steketee was born in 1974 in Hoorn, The Netherlands. They both live in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
I am Walé Respect Me
by Patrick Willocq
© Patrick Willocq. Epanza Makita, Batwalé, 2013.
© Patrick Willocq. The Arch of Walé Oyombé, 2013.
Kinshasa based photographer Patrick Willocq’s fictional staged photographs I am Walé Respect Me, is the result of a collaboration between Ekonda pygmies, an ethno-musicologist, artist and many artisans of the forest. Focused on visually narrating the initiation ritual of the Walé women (young mothers) in Democratic Republic of Congo. Willoq’s describes these images as visual depictions of the songs sung by the Walé whilst in seclusion. Each aural tale has a codified structure yet is made unique by each young mother. She sings of her loneliness, whilst astutely praising herself to the discredit of her fellow rivals – other Walés. Patrick Willocq was born in 1969 in Strasbourg, France. He lives in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Organised by Piclet, POPCAP is a prize for contemporary African photography that has been awarded since 2012. POPCAP aims to raise the profile of African photography within the art world and provide more publicity for artists who engage with the continent. Each year, five winning portfolios are exhibited at numerous international exhibitions. The call to POPCAP ‘15 opens on December 1, 2014.
Written by Missla Libsekal.