On October 2nd, the German Peace Prize for Photography was awarded to the Nigerian photographer Emeke Obanor’s photo series ‘Heroes’. In his project, Obanor photographically engages with the stories of young women and girls who have been abducted by the Boko Haram sect.
In the words of the photographer: ‘On returning from captivity, many of the girls were traumatized and stigmatized, there were huddles for the girls and some still had courage to strive regarding western education. But a group of girls persevered in the face of terror, economic hardship, Islamic extremism, cultural and gender bias to dare to return to school and become educated amid grim realities.’[i]
According to the organizers, ‘Emeke Obanor’s photography reveals and restores dignity to the photographed subjects, through the explicit aesthetic beauty of his images – Critical thinking, analysis, and strong attention to small details’.[ii] For the jury, ‘Emeke Obanor shows us not only his hopeful heroines, but also their further path towards a self-determined future in peace.’
The award ‘honors works that conceptually interpret the topic of “Peace” by means of the medium of photography’. Peace is here interpreted in a very broad sense, the photographs ‘may express peace between peoples, peaceful coexistence in a country or a family, or the inner peace of individuals. There are no limitations set with regard to the photographic genre.’[iii]
The German Peace Prize for Photography is initiated by the Friedensstadt Osnabrück (City of Peace) in cooperation with the Osnabrück-based Felix Schoeller Group and awarded every two years. The winner of the contest receives 10.000€. In addition to the German Peace Prize for Photography, the organizers also reward the best work by an Emerging Photographer (2500€ prize money).
All nominated and rewarded portfolios can be accessed online and are on display at the Museumsquartier Osnabrück until March 6, 2022. Information about the exhibition at Museumsquartier Osnabrück can be found here.
[ii] https://felix-schoeller-photoaward.com/en/artpage/id:1662/year:award-2021, accessed October 3, 2021.