The V&A Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography is an exciting new annual initiative that aims to recognize, support, and celebrate the work of innovative women artists in the field of contemporary photography. With a commitment to promoting diversity and equality in the arts, this prestigious prize provides a platform for women photographers to showcase their talent and make their voices heard.
These ten artists represent a diverse range of photographic approaches, and innovative interpretations of the Prize theme, ‘Agents of Change’, which celebrates the place photography holds in documenting, celebrating and effecting change.
Vân-Nhi Nguyễn is a Vietnamese photographer and designer based in Hà Nội, Việt Nam. Her work is concerned with the reconstruction of collective memory – be it that of her own identity or of the larger community – and its relationship to contemporary society. Her ongoing project, ‘As You Grow Older’, takes the familiar shape of a family photo album and features portraits in which each individual is presented in their own space.
Iranian American photographer and video artist Gohar Dashti lives and works in Tehran. Her native country is a dominant feature in her work, with particular focus on its topography, socio-geography, and history of violence. In ‘Home Series’, Dashti documents the places ‘left behind’ in Iran; evidence of those displaced by years of conflict.
Hajar Benjida is a Dutch-Moroccan visual artist based in New York. Her work often centres around hip-hop music; from photographing some of the scene’s most famous artists, to capturing lesser-known stories of women in the industry and the impactful roles they occupy. In her series ‘Atlanta Made Us Famous’, Benjida collaborates with the dancers of the legendary Magic City in Atlanta, a crucial launch pad for numerous rappers’ careers.
Priyadarshini Ravichandran is an Indian photographer whose work is connected with lived experience, including stories of women, their lives and the land. ‘Surge’ is a poetic and personal exploration revealing the complexity of familial relationships.
British Ghanaian visual artist, performer, actor and maker Heather Agyepong lives and works in London. Her practice is concerned with mental health, wellbeing, invisibility, the diaspora and the archive. ‘Ego Death’ is inspired by Carl Jung’s psychiatric concept of the shadow.
Sarah Mei Herman is a Dutch visual artist and photographer whose practice examines the relationships and intimacy, particularly between families and young people. Her recent series ‘Solace’ documents the LGBTQ+ communities of Xiamen, China. Photographed in their personal surroundings, the photographs are accompanied by interviews about love, life and fears. Two years after the trip, and unable to return to China due to the pandemic, Mei Herman turns her lens on the Queer Chinese community of the Netherlands, Düsseldorf and Paris.
Lee-Ann Olwage is a visual storyteller and photographic artist from South Africa who uses collaborative storytelling to explore themes relating to gender and identity. In ‘The Right To Play’, Olwage works with the non-profit organisation Kakenya’s Dream to collaborate with school girls who have avoided FGM and child marriage.
Anya Tsaruk is a Ukrainian photographer based in Berlin. Her artistic approach focused initially on documentary and street photography, but evolved in the past year to expose the realities of war in Ukraine and its consequences. Her series ‘Mother Land’ is an autobiographical example of how families have been affected by the war.
Cynthia MaiWa Sitei is a Kenyan British visual artist and curator whose work is heavily influenced by the culture of storytelling. She integrates photography, text and the archive to explore themes such as stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. Responding to the colonial archive of British social anthropologist Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard, ‘spear of a nation’ embarks on its own expedition to critically reflect on acculturation and assimilation, and the legacy of colonialism.
Anna Boyiazis is an American documentary photographer based between Southern California and East Africa. Her photographic interests focus on human rights, public health, and women and girls’ issues. ‘Finding Freedom in the Water’ documents the impact of water and the sea on daily life in the Zanzibar Archipelago.