UK-based not-for-profit organisation Sinchi advocates for marginalised and indigenous communities around the world, raising awareness of their plights as well as providing a platform for indigenous people to share their own stories to ensure better representation in the media.
According to the organisation, there is an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, representing 5,000 cultures, speaking 7,000 languages and living across some 90 countries. Furthermore, indigenous peoples make up less than five percent of the world’s population but account for about 15 percent of the poorest.
To help promote cultural diversity and the role indigenous people play in highlighting the importance of the natural world, the organisation established a photography competition last year to provide visual storytellers with an opportunity to use their talents to produce work that celebrates the strength and beauty of indigenous culture.
The theme of this year’s Sinchi Photography Competition centred on cultural practice. Participants were encouraged to draw inspiration from indigenous customs, events, spirituality, everyday life, community, art and music. They were also invited to submit individual images or a photo series featuring up to six photos, with images of remote and urban environments accepted.
Judging the competition entries were internationally acclaimed photographer Jimmy Nelson, Aboriginal Australian photographer and former NAIDOC Artist of the Year Wayne Quilliam and founder of Natives Photograph and last years’ winner Josue Rivas. Assessing the images on a variety of factors such as clarity of expression, overall artistic impression and potential social impact, the judging panel selected three winners.
UK-based commercial photographer Aron Klein who won first place in the ‘Portrait’ category submitted this caption along with his captivating photograph:
“In our society ceremony and ritual have ceased to be a part of the cultural fabric, as they once were. I was drawn to document a community that remains to place so much value on folk law and ritual, with the practice still alive and flourishing in the face of modernity.”
Alain Schroeder a Belgian photojournalist was awarded winner in the ‘Series’ category.
“…a young jockey bonds with his favourite horse outside the serious atmosphere of the racetrack. I edited the pictures in a very soft and natural way to enhance the playfulness of the moment, one that reminded me of my youth when I too would jump into a river naked without a second thought; but that was another era.”
Ana Caroline de Lima, a Brazilian documentary photographer, journalist and specialist in visual anthropology, was the winner of the competition’s ‘Artistic Merit’ category with her haunting image (below).
She wrote this caption to accompany her entry: “In times where people are focusing on differences rather than similarities, I believe it’s important to keep in mind that we are all human beings. We share similar necessities, dreams, struggles and joy. It’s all adapted to our cultures, backgrounds and personalities, of course. But if you look closer, you’ll notice that regardless of who you are or where you’re from, you’re not better than anyone. You’re not worse than anyone. You just are.”
Winners receive 500 euros as well as a certificate and logo, with those coming in second-place receiving 250 euros. In addition, their work will feature in a month-long exhibition which opens in February at Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam. The Sinchi 2018 Photo Competition exhibition will highlight the different approaches to the representation of marginalized and indigenous communities around the world and encourage examination as to why it is important they are documented.
Visit sinchi-foundation.com to learn more about this indigenous photo competition.
Title image of a pilgrim family sleep in a semi-abandoned building lit with occasional floodlights on the eve of Arbaeen in Karbala, Iraq taken by photojournalist Emily Garthwaite.
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