Page 1 prize for contemporary african photography 2012

the popcap winners 2012 --Guillaume Bonn Nabil Boutros Namsa Leuba Adolphus Opara Paolo Patrizi

POPCAP ‘12 The Prize for Conteporary African Photography 2012 In Spring 2012 called for entries to the first edition of POPCAP - Prize for Contemporary African Photography. You hold in your hands the book accompanying the PopUp / Basel exhibit during Art 43 entirely dedicated to African themes. POPCAP aims to foster African themes in the arts and a platform for presentation. An internationally renowned jury including Akinbode Akinbiyie, Tobia Bezzola, Benjamin Füglister, Peter Herrmann, Michket Krifa, Lesley Martin, Andreas MüllerPohle, Jürg Schneider and Laura Sérani elected the five winners of POPCAP ‘12. Guillaume Bonn gives us subtle insight on the relationship between owners of large estates in Africa and their servants. Nabil Boutros baffles us with his series of stereotypical Egyptian looks. Namsa Leuba examines the meanings of Guinean ritual statuettes by reinterpreting their appearance. Adolphus Opara documents representatives of indigenous philosophical thought and belief systems in a very timeless manner. Paolo Patrizi focuses on the delicate topic of Nigerian women working in prostitution in Italy over generations.  The creation of was motivated by a desire to establish a vessel for ambitious photography based on a deliberately selective repertory of entries. We hope to hold many more competitions, exhibits, discussions and portfolio reviews in the future that help us to break away from the electronic reality, providing a forum for local photography scenes and nurturing the development of a network that reaches far beyond – Benjamin Füglister

Guillaume Bonn Born in 1970 in Antananarivo, Madagascar Lives in Paris, France

Silent Lives, 2009–2011. Silent Lives was inspired by Juliette, a Madagascan matriarch who worked for my grandfather for 50 years. When he died, she left with neither farewell nor retirement package. The family were stricken by her abrupt departure but were never able to trace her whereabouts. Juliette’s actions said she needed neither us nor our money. My grandfather had assumed that he was in charge but perhaps the true power lay with Juliette after all. The power relationship between employer and employed is shifting and subtle. What Juliette had demonstrated still tends to hold true today. Employers know very little about their servants’ lives, their families, their dreams and hopes. Their servants have no authority but carry a large burden of responsibility. These people who are banished to small rooms at the bottom of the garden when night has fallen are, by day, stewards of power. Nannies nurture their employers’ children and help shape their perception of the world. Night watchmen guard the property at night with only a club or perhaps a bow and arrows. They see much, say little, and never betray the trust that has been bestowed on them. When their charges grow up and become employers themselves, will they remember who looked after them? Silent Lives is my way of honoring these men and women by shining a light on how they live as they uphold their side of the contract. I cannot say it is an attempt to restore their dignity, because it is very clear that they never lost it. – Guillaume Bonn

Teatime, on the veranda of an old colonial house owned by a French family who have been living in Kenya for three decades. The house is situated in Muthaiga, the most residential area in Nairobi, 2009. From Silent Lives

A gardener on week end duty cleans the swimming pool while his employer's guest sunbathes. The property is situated in Ulu 45 minutes outside of Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, 2010. From Silent Lives

A maid prepares a picnic lunch for her employers, who have a farm at Lake Naivasha, and their friends, 2010. From Silent Lives

Joseph, 38 years old, left his wife and two children back at home in Samburu to find work as an "askari" (watchman) in Nairobi. The services of private security companies are much in demand because of the exceptionally high incidence of attacks on private homes by thugs carrying AK 47s and other weapons. Askaris are forbidden to carry arms, but bows and arrows, sometimes tipped with a deadly poison, are tolerated. Joseph is currently looking for a second "town" wife to marry, 2009. From Silent Lives

Nabil Boutros Born in 1954 Cairo, Egypt. Lives in Paris, France

(All) Egyptians, 2010–2011. A person’s clothing and appearance send messages asserting his or her identity or thinking, assertions addressed to a circle of relationships. Well-mastered, appearance expresses less a state of fact and becomes pure communication. How far can we trust it? I have observed that in recent years many people in Egypt, under cover of having a new financial or religious status, changed their look radically and relatively fast and, in the same way, changed their social relationships. What can be deduced from this? That everyone has multiple faces? That clothes make the man? I started this project in February 2010, miming with my face and brushing, dyeing and shaving my hair and beard differently at different stages throughout one year to take on many Egyptian male characters. Part of the photographic series Egyptians was on view at the Darb Gallery in Cairo in December 2010, when the bomb attack against a Coptic Church in Alexandria during a New Year’s Eve service killed 21 people. As a response to this attack, the founder and director of Darb 1718 and myself made a protest poster using the photographs, adding the slogan All Egyptians. Ten days later the revolution started. During the sit-ins on Tahrir Square and later on, activists displayed the poster All Egyptians as a symbol of unity. These images made first to question identity aspects changed their status and were looking more like communication, I thought. In reality, beyond the displayed slogan, there was enough ambiguity to continue questioning identity. – Nabil Boutros

All images from (All) Egyptians, 2010–2011

Namsa Leuba Born in 1982 in St. Aubin, Switzerland Lives in Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Ya Kala Ben / Crossed look, 2011. I am an African-European and my project was accomplished on a trip to Guinea Conakry. In this work, I was interested in the construction and deconstruction of the body as well as the depiction of the invisible. I have studied ritual artifacts common to the cosmology of Guineans; statuettes that are part of a ceremonial structure. They are from another world, they are the roots of the living. Thereby, I sought to touch the untouchable. Modesty, luck, fecundity or a channel for exorcism, those statuettes hold a cultural value through what they symbolize. With this work, I transform these objects, cosmological symbols of a community that hold traditional significance when used as part of rituals. These objects are part of a collective that they must not be separated from, or risk loosing their value. They are not the gods of this community but their prayers, integrated in a rigorous symbolic order, where every component has its place. They are ritual tools that I have animated by staging live models and in a way to desecrate them by giving them another meaning; an unfamiliar meaning in the Guinean context. In recontextualizing these sacred objects through the lens, I fitted them into a framework of Western aesthetics. This photographic eye would make them speak differently. Throughout my fieldwork, I had to deal with sometimes violent reactions from Guineans who viewed my procedures and practices as a form of sacrilege. Some were afraid or struck with astonishment. – Namsa Leuba

Statuette Vili Fanta, Guinee, 2011. From Ya Kala Ben / Crossed look

Statuette Ndoki Saleou, Guinee, 2011. From Ya Kala Ben / Crossed look

Statuette Punu Bintou, Guinee, 2011. From Ya Kala Ben / Crossed look

Statuette Zoo Foret, Guinee, 2011. From Ya Kala Ben / Crossed look

Statuette Sorsorne Oumou, Guinee, 2011. From Ya Kala Ben / Crossed look

Statuette Kafigeledio Prince, Guinee, 2011. From Ya Kala Ben / Crossed look

Adolphus Opara Born in 1981 in Imo State, Nigeria. Lives in Lagos, Nigeria

Emissaries of an Iconic Religion, 2009–2011. In Africa, belief systems provide a context for choice and definition while also functioning as a basis for solidarity and community. Emissaries of an Iconic religion is an attempt to offer a visual context of interpretation by hopefully creating dialogue in re-presenting an indigenous philosophical thought system that exists in most West African spaces in syncretic and hybridized forms. My main consideration was to attempt to create images that capture the subject in its natural or original setting in a timeless fashion that taps into the enduring importance and historical relevance to African society of diviners. In this attempt to create images that can be considered timeless, I employed devices similar to those found in Victorian portraiture, gesturing to the argument questioning the existence of original philosophical thought systems in Africa. The work was shown at the TATE Modern London in 2011 and triggered an in-depth discourse as it relates to the topic Contested Terrains, which was the theme of the exhibition. – Adolphus Opara

Top: Orisa, Lajoomi, Diety of Children, Mrs. Ogunremi Lekun, 2009–2011. From Emissaries of an Iconic Religion Right: Orisa, Odu, Diety of Blessings and Protection, Olakunle Falowo Ololade, 2009–2011. From Emissaries of an Iconic Religion

Left: Orisa Sanpanaa, Diety of Measles, Chief Bolanle, 2009–2011. From Emissaries of an Iconic Religion Top: Egungun Masquerade, Diety of Prosperity and Fertility, Chef Ifasola Ogunjinmi Olojede, 2009–2011. From Emissaries of an Iconic Religion

Top: Orisa Osun, Diety of Good of Prosperity and of Water, Mrs Titilayo Ogunrimu, 2009–2011. From Emissaries of an Iconic Religion Right: Orisa Ayelala, Deity of Protection, Chief Olasupo Awolowo, 2009–2011. From Emissaries of an Iconic Religion

Paolo Patrizi Born in 1965 in Rome, Italy. Lives in Tokyo, Japan.

Migration Linked to Prostitution 2007–2011. The phenomenon of foreign women who line the roadsides of Italy has become a notorious fact of Italian life. These women work in sub-human conditions; they are sent out without any hope of regularizing their legal status and can be easily transferred into criminal networks. Many are Africans working as prostitutes to send money home to their families. For nearly twenty years the women of Benin City, a town in the state of Edo in the south-central part of Nigeria, have been going to Italy to work in the sex trade. Successful ones have been recruiting younger girls to follow them ever since. The Nigerian trafficking industry is fueled by the combination of widespread emigration aspirations and severely limited possibilities for migrating to Europe. The term trafficking of persons is restricted to instances where people are deceived, threatened, or coerced into situations of exploitation, including prostitution. Most migrant women, including those who end up in the sex industry, have made a clear decision to leave home and take their chances overseas. They are headstrong and ambitious women who migrate in order to escape conflict, persecution, environmental degradation, natural disasters and other situations that affect their habitat and livelihood. Ensuring a better future for one’s family in Nigeria is a principal motivation for emigration within and outside the trafficking networks. Working abroad is therefore often seen as the best strategy for escaping poverty. The success of many Italos, as these women are called, is evident in Edo. This prostitution in Italy has become an entirely acceptable trade and the legend of their success makes the fight against sex traffickers all the more difficult. – Paolo Patrizi

Sharon, a Nigerian sex worker on her makeshift bed on the fringes of Rome, Italy. 2007–2011. From Migration Linked to Prostitution

Dona, a Nigerian sex worker stands by her makeshift bed on the fringes of Rome, Italy, 2007–2011. From Migration Linked to Prostitution

Open-air room #1, 2007–2011. From Migration Linked to Prostitution

Wheat field, 2007–2011. From Migration Linked to Prostitution

Anna, a Nigerian sex worker on her makeshift bed on the fringes of Rome, Italy, 2007–2011. From Migration Linked to Prostitution

Chair, 2007–2011. From Migration Linked to Prostitution

Makena, a Nigerian sex worker on her makeshift bed on the fringes of Rome, Italy, 2007–2011. From Migration Linked to Prostitution

Imprint says thank you to Akinbode Akinbiyi, Sandro Frei, Peter Herrmann, Michket Krifa, Lesley Martin, Andreas MüllerPohle, Angela Nyffeler, Moritz Schermbach, Jürg Schneider, Laura Sérani, David Staehelin, Vreni & Kurt Wespi und Andreas Zimmermann. We also say thank you to the POPCAP ‘12 facilitators Blue Noise GmbH , Dreyfus Söhne & Cie AG , European Photography Magazine, Heineken Schweiz AG , New Horizon Productions, Nunc. GmbH , Open Interactive GmbH , Sylon Hosting GmbH und Thummel AG.

Design:, Berlin Production: 15 Grad GbR , Berlin Translations: Liz Goerl Editorial Address:, Reichenberger Strasse 101, 10999 Berlin, Germany First Edition, 2012 – directory for hand-picked photographers’ portfolios

POPCAP '12 Catalog  

In the centre of Basel, during Art 43, we celebrated the completion of the first edition of POPCAP – The Prize for Contemporary A...

POPCAP '12 Catalog  

In the centre of Basel, during Art 43, we celebrated the completion of the first edition of POPCAP – The Prize for Contemporary A...