ARLES, FRANCE--(Marketwired - Jul 5, 2013) - Among a dozen shortlisted photographers from around the world emerged the 2013 recipient of The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film grant. The Foundation jury unanimously selected Vivek Singh, of Delhi, India.
Singh will receive a $5,000 grant to complete his social documentary photography project titled "Ethnic Unrest, Western Assam --The Aftermath." With the grant, Singh expects to produce a photographic essay on the challenges faced by the people in Western Assam, an under-reported region in India's northeast. In July 2012, the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD), administered by the autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council of Lower Assam, saw a rise in ethnic unrest between the Bodos (considered the original inhabitants of the area) and the migrant Bengali Muslim population. As a consequence of recent clashes, more than 400,000 people in both communities are said to be displaced today.
"I was amazed to just be included in the initial twenty four finalists," said Singh from Delhi, India where he resides. "Learning that my project was selected from among these excellent photographers is such an honor. There aren't many grants of this sort available in India. The impartiality of the MRO Foundation's photography grant gives everybody an opportunity to be recognized no matter where you're from. It's personally rewarding to be acknowledged by the jury and such a blessing to know that I can complete my work on the situation in Assam."
Singh, 32, is from Haryana, India. He started his career in television news production. His photographic trajectory began with stints on staff as a photographer for local Indian publications in Delhi. In late 2006, Singh headed to document social issues in the northeast region of India, an area where he has continued working on stories related to displacement, conflict, livelihood, healthcare and religion for the past seven years. A selection of Singh's work from this project was recently screened at Chobi Mela V, International Festival of Photography in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In 2008, Singh was commissioned by Goethe Institut to explore "Art in Public Spaces," a work he subsequently exhibited at their gallery in Bangalore.
"It is such a pleasure seeing the grant awarded to an Indian photographer covering India," says foundation President Manuel Rivera-Ortiz. "I have always been enamored with India. With the over 300 million people eking out a living on the streets, the need for supporting local photographers like Vivek is that much greater."
Judging for this year's award took place on July 1, 2013, at Galerie Huit in the center of the historic district in Arles, France. The jury included:
- Lucien Clergue, founder of Les Rencontres d'Arles
- Christian Caujolle, founder of Agency and Gallery VU; Founder and Arts Director of Photo Phnom Penh festival
- Michael Benson, Director of the Prix Pictet
- Gwen Lee, Director and founder of Singapore International Photography Festival, and
- W.M. Hunt, photographic consultant, collector and curator.
"For the third consecutive year, this exceptional jury validates the Foundation's commitment to support the expression of photographers around social issues, consequences of war and economic conflicts," said Didier de Fays, Director of the Foundation.
Julia de Bierre, gallery owner and foundation trustee said, "It's a great honor to collaborate with the Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation in showcasing these winning images at Galerie Huit during the Rencontres d'Arles. The positive response from the steady flow of visitors during this opening week of the Festival -- devoted to professionals -- has been overwhelming."
Submitted projects in this year's grant competition-included topics such as Ireland's traveler's community, to child soldiers in Central Africa, the dangers of eating bush meat, and international trafficking of organ trade. Two finalists were designated 'honorable mentions' by the jury:
- Andri Tambunan of Indonesia, for his proposed work regarding the challenges faced by indigenous Papuans living with HIV/AIDS
- Patrice Terraz of France, for his proposed work concerning the dockworkers of Hong Kong.
Along with Mr. Singh's winning submission, all of the 2013 finalist projects can be viewed at: www.mrofoundation.org.
About the Foundation: The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film is a 501(c)(3) Not-for-Profit Organization committed to positive social discourse in underrepresented communities throughout the world by encouraging emerging and established photographers working in developing nations to keep their lenses fixed on the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. Headquartered in New York with a presence in Paris and Zurich, the Foundation is a charitable trust serving the international photographic community through exhibitions, grants, and other curatorial and editorial projects.
Established in 2010, the Foundation aims to encourage a new generation of photographers, armed with only a camera and a vision of a better world, to document humanity on the move. For additional information on the Foundation, please visit www.mrofoundation.org.