2021 PROJECT GRANT WINNERS
In Hindu mythology, Ardhanarishvara is one of Shiva’s forms in which he appears with his wife Parvati together as one body. This half-male and half-female form gather their two cosmic forces.
From a rite of passage to adulthood to an alliance between two families, the wedding is a prominent event for everyone involved in it. Although traditions may vary from region to region and between different religions, the parents' search for wedding partners remains the same.
The future bride and groom must belong to the same caste and practice the same religion. They must have the same educational background but it is allowed for the groom to have a higher education than the bride.
Hindus, however, must also have astral compatibility certified by an astrologist. Moreover, age is equally a criterion of great importance.
In the wedding market, women have their best chances to get married from the age of 18 to 25, while for men their best chances are from 21 to 29. After these ages, it becomes almost impossible to find a partner. Therefore, this matrimonial quest is a countdown for young people who try to forget their teenage lovers to honour their parents’ choices.
Aren’t their unions without pain?
Since 2016, Anouchka has been going to India where she has made many friends. And through the years, the same stories have been told to me. In this wedding race, many are left behind. Thus, on the eve of his 29th birthday, a friend of mine finds himself in an intensive quest to find a partner fearing for his future that cannot be considered without one.
This series of images is a tribute to his story and a greater extent to the story of many young Indians.
This project explores that the idea of home, belonging, and migration. Zula moved to the UK 20 years ago and this move created a cultural rupture with her family and Polish society.
Since then, she has been on a never-ending quest to finding a sense of “home”. Her father passed away at the end of 2020, which resulted in her moving back home with her mother and step-father and spending 3 months self-isolating with them. This was challenging and encouraged Zula to explore her own sense of self and family history.
She created this portrait project during the 2020/21 winter lockdown and due to COVID restrictions, she was her own creative director, stylist, assistant, model and photographer. Using self-portraiture she wore her ancestors’ clothes, connecting with her family heritage, and bring to light the Eastern European communist past.
These self-portraits were inspired by conversations with her mother and also old family photographs. Her mother spent years bringing clothes and glassware from Poland to the UK, as these enabled her to maintain a physical bond with Polish culture. Keeping them facilitated a connection with the past and helped us cultivate the feeling of home, something that we struggled to achieve whilst living in the UK. Amongst many other items, she included a handmade sheep coat, Coca Cola towels won in a radio competition, a New Years’ Eve party collar smuggled from Thailand, and her mother’s dowry, all of which have been kept in her house over the years.
By photographing myself in my ancestors’ clothes, she revisits and examine my family history and reflect on how the memories and experiences of women in her family have shaped her identity.
Clothes contain unique archival information and become carriers of collective and public memories. They function as reminders of past moments and allow the memories of the deceased to exist within the present. Therefore, these self-portraits serve as multidimensional spaces, combining voices of women in her family, reflecting on how the past influences the present, and exploring “home” as something that she is able to carry with her.
I will return to the universe someday
When Ritsuko was a child, she often worried about her existence. The boundaries between the outside world and herself seemed uncertain, and she often felt like her body was shattering. She could not escape from the idea that everything was constantly changing, and nothing was static. Even now, she sometimes distrust the entity “I”.
Perhaps it is only natural - we are all just a collection of elements. We exist in this form, right now, but when we die our bodies will be reduced to elements again, scattered in the universe. She wanted to turn that fact into a project.
2021 PROJECT GRANT FINALISTS
AKI & ASTRID SINIKOSKI Finland
Aki & Astrid Sinikoski's New Ghosts portrays the relationship between father and daughter and their attempts to understand life, change, and the passage of time. Photographs raise questions about identity, adulthood, childhood, life, and death. What kind of role models, ideals, and future scenarios do we create for each other? As kids, our fears are often easy to name. We are afraid of monsters, ghosts, or, for example, a tree’s shadow reaching towards us behind the window.
As we get older, our fears often get more abstract. The new amorphous anxieties create new unnamed phantoms, a sort of “new ghost” we can’t yet name.
By photographing their ghost studies, father and daughter have recognized that fears are often the mirror images of dreams. After familiarizing oneself with a ghost, one kind of tames the previously faceless creature and turns it into a gateway to one’s dreams. The photo series is genuinely homemade as father and daughter have planned and made the photo series together as an artist duo since 2011.
It will be published as a whole in 2058 when Aki turns 80 and Astrid 50.
BAS LOSEKOOT The Netherlands
Out of Place
Out of Place, is a photographic essay that provides insight in the psychological journey of street life in modern megacities. At the rise of the "Urban Millennium" the artist embarked on a visual exploration, considering how population density affects human behaviour. While placing his camera in the liminal spaces of the city, he addresses the state of in-between-ness of the modern urban experience.
With an intuitive eye, he observes the "presentation of self" and "micro-second meetings" of everyday urban encounters. By adding drama to the trivial, Losekoot is painting the theatre of the real life, where small gestures become dramatic events.
NATALIA KEPESZ Germany
"Niewybuch" gives an insight into the world of military camps, a phenomenon that has experienced a massive influx in Poland in recent years. In addition to being taught military basics, children and young people are playfully indoctrinated in obedience, fearlessness and patriotism. The young soldiers appear like play figures, their frozen facial features concealing any emotion. Between fake blood, drill and the unreserved use of weapons, the work raises the question of the emotional effects of military education and addresses the tension between a child's search for adventure and the excesses of the Polish military cult.
MOHAMMAD YOUNES Iraq
Mohammad Younes started work on a long-term project documenting the sacrifices of the Kurdish Peshmerga in the fight to put down ISIS. The project has taken him to the provinces of Iraqi Kurdistan. Speaking with several hundred Peshmerga, taking intimate portraits of the wounded fighters, their families, and documenting both the stories in the battle and their ongoing struggles to navigate post-conflict life.
Through the work, he found stories of immense suffering. Fighters who took up arms, not because they were required to do so, but because it was right and it was what had to be done. These men, often fighting side by side with brothers, uncles, cousins, fathers, and sons, knew that the freedom and survival of their people were at stake.
All most of the men showed severe physical injury. Arms, legs, and eyes lost. Bodies so riddled with bullet and shrapnel wounds that simple movement created wincing pain. These men also showed the signs of the heavy burden of mental traumas, of PTSD, and of memories that would not leave them. Despite all they have suffered, they often said they would go back to the fight again if ever called upon. They would do this for their children, their families, their people, and for the wider world.
Tragically, their suffering does not end after having returned home. The men face new challenges, such as getting prosthetic limbs, ongoing care, providing for their families despite their debilitating injuries, and more. They wonder, if they would give everything to help protect the world, will the world help them or forget them now that have put down their guns.
NIKOS PILOS Greece
The Refuge - 55 square meters
“Prosfygika” is the largest residential squat in Europe, run by an Antifa collective in Greece. Ironically, the complex is located between the High Court and the Police Headquarters in Athens. This now crumbling 1930’s Bauhaus complex - a total of identical 228 apartments, each sized 55 square meters - was built to house Greek refugees from Asia Minor after WWI.
Prosfygika, after all, means refugees' housing project. Since 2010, amid the financial and refugee crisis, “Prosfygika” has been going through a transformation: more than five hundred people of 30 nationalities have sought shelter there. Amongst them are impoverished or marginalized Greeks, individuals or families, refugees and activists, who have formed a bustling community.
As the Prosfygika community is struggling for basic human rights, already under the constant threat of eviction - gentrification is in order -, a new fear emerges. The Covid-19 pandemic. Practising social distancing is impossible as, in many cases, 5 people share a 55 square meter space. Those with no legal documents are unable to venture out as police squads are stationed at every corner enforcing the Greek government’s harsh repression policy, under the pretext of compliance with the anti-spread plan.
ROSA MARINIELLO Italy
The Sustainable Farmers
This series of portraits has been photographed in agricultural fields during full moon nights. The moon is the backstage; you feel it in the shimmering eyes, in the reflex, which enchants the landscape. Moonlight reveals the faces; faces of fatigue and resilience which exude love for the land, their land, our land, our Mother Land.
They are soldiers on the front line as they fight in small and pure pieces of land, which shine in the darkness of the The Smoky Land, an area of 30,000 m2 between Napoli and Caserta (in the South of Italy), where any kind of waste, especially toxic waste from all Europe is concealed below its plate.
Natural agriculture is their weapon. Integrated, bio, without chemistry, without herbicides and pesticides. It is a project that sees them working together but alone, supportive in their ethical intent, loyal to the indigenous tradition to preserve biodiversity, they exclusively cultivate local products. Far from the production chain, they stick to 0KM initiatives, street markets and fairs, and the Slow Food network.
NORIKO TAKASUGI Japan
A decade has passed since the Great East Japan earthquake occurred. Memories engraved on the land of Fukushima are fading, and the landscape has been changing with reconstruction. People have been praying throughout the hardships endured over the past thousand years. This year too, we, with the Nomaoi, wish for peace in our land, our identity.
The rituals of the Nomaoi continues despite the many challenges they encountered, endured and overcame across the centuries, such as the 1834 epidemic and the chaos of the 1868 Meiji restoration. And so, they continued the tradition soon after the great earthquake of 2011 and the 2020 pandemic. A man who lost his 20-year-old son in the tsunami was emphatic: “I want it down in history that my son lived here.” Noriko photographed the father after the disaster; he was wearing two epaulettes, the one with his son’s name over the one with his own name.
Local gods are called “Musubi” in the old Japanese language. “Musubi” means “union” and “connecting”: people connect with each other; people connect to the lands they live on; this connection extends beyond space and time. "Musubi" was termed “Musuhi” in ancient times.
Gods called “Musuhi'' appeared at the beginning of the world, as written in the book Kojiki (Japanese mythology). After this, Gods of islands, stones, rain, ocean, wind, trees, mountains and fire arose, one after another. This is how the land of Japan was created. Musuhi, who eventually created many gods, represents the continuity of lives.
SIMONE STRIJK The Netherlands
This ongoing project focuses on a poetic narrative that explores the daily life in the Kalunga community. The Kalunga community is the biggest quilombo of Brazil established by Afro-Brazilian residents who escaped from slavery at the end of the eighteenth century. For almost 200 years this community of slave descendants was hidden in the mountains of Goias, not knowing about the abolition of slavery that happened a few years after their settlement.
They lived in isolation from external society until the 1960s when researchers found them. If the slavery is part of the past, their aftermath is still writing its history. The Kalunga group is a vivid memory of pain and violence but also represent resistance, pursuit for freedom and a profound integration with nature. The compositions in this series are interpretations of their shared experiences, myths and festivals.
IRMINA WALCZAK & SÁVIO FREIRE Poland
Oasis: In our quarantine yard
This series was created during 95 days confinement of our family in the Spanish countryside, the place we were surprised by announcement of the lockdown. It explores the experience of social distancing in a rural area where space is widened but, at the same time, human presence is scarce. Especially for children, who make the fences and the gate their window to the world. The contact with nature is intensified and a silence, leisure is filled by observing natural events.
Simultaneously, the break with reality and its common rhythm makes the imagination flourish. With the every sunset, the restlessness and fear of death awakens. We all learn how to tame these monsters of the night and wake up light enough to appreciate the growth of our temporary vegetable garden.
EKATERINA ZERSHCHIKOVA Germany
Vera, Nadezhda, Lubov
In her ongoing project, “Vera, Nadezhda, Lubov” Ekaterina photographs the people from Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union who now live in Berlin and feel a strong connection to their native cultures. As a native Russian herself who spent half her life in Russia, she was fascinated to re-encounter a way of life she had somehow left behind.
It felt like returning to her roots, yet, at the same time, being a distant observer. “Vera, Nadezhda, Lubov” are not just three female Russian names, they are the result of her search for clues that guide Ekaterina to the things that bring and keep people together.
FRANÇOIS SILVESTRE DE SACY France
Are You Recording?
François had always been attracted and intrigued by China. He finally went there and was charmed, astonished but also scared. In China, every little thing seemed to be under observation. A direct control, through cameras - millions of eyes watching you, and an indirect one, via traditions and information control.
Homosexuality is neither criminalised nor considered as a mental disease anymore. Still.
“I’d love to, but I can’t be part of your project”. Anonymity and obscurity seemed to be the watchwords. In the darkness, people move more freely. But the new generation is rising, its own way.
"Sam does not worry about being gay but feels like going abroad. Escaping is an option. Letting yourself go at a club or at the Taiwanese gay pride is easier. That’s what Hoshi does. I was a way-out. Someone to tell stories, experiences, fears and achievements to. Not only about their sexual orientation, but also about their country, their understanding of how it all works. They opened their hearts, fragile and full of hopes and dreams. Clem, assumed his homosexuality but suddenly became afraid that I was recording our conversation."
"“Tim”, 50, married to a woman, told me that it was a relief to finally be able to talk to someone about his situation. Taro, a lesbian that I met kissing a man in a bar. Ryan eventually asked me not to publish his photos because he was worried about the Hong Kong national security law. Chuchen, Tody, Christopher, Wang, Sean, Sam, Ethan, Allan and all those faces that can’t be shown out of fear. Homosexuals might not be the enemies at the moment. But are you recording what I’m saying?"