Sharjah Art Foundation has announced the winners of its inaugural photography prize at the opening of Vantage Point Sharjah 9 (VPS9). The Foundation’s annual photography exhibition showcases works selected through an international open call that received 500 submissions this year, WAM reports.
Presenting works by 53 photographers from 30 countries, the 2021 iteration of Vantage Point Sharjah features images in four categories: conceptual, experimental, photojournalism and documentary; and staged photography, highlighting the unique, fascinating and infinite possibilities of photography as a medium. Through their lens, the photographers explore the world around them, drawing from personal experiences and narratives and cultural, political or environmental conditions.
The winning photographers Reyad Abedin, Işık Kaya, Devashish Gaur and Khadija Al Abyad, one from each category, were selected by a jury consisting of Ammar Al Attar (artist), Sham Enbashi (photographer and architect), M’hammed Kilito (photographer) and Alia Al Shamsi (author and artist).
The body of work of Reyad Abedin, winner in the photojournalism and documentary photography category, “transmutes a level of peacefulness and aesthetic beauty that not only captures the attention of the viewer but engages him/her to lose him/herself within the image that without words narrates a story,” said jury member Alia Al Shamsi.
Devashish Gaur, the winner in the experimental photography category, “was often told that he shared the same character as his grandfather. He imbues his photographic series with this connection, depicting stories from his grandfather and addresses complex subjects like existence, balance and intimacy with loved ones lost,” commented jury member Ammar Al Attar.
Speaking about Işık Kaya, the winner in the conceptual photography category, jury member M’hammed Kilito said, “Second Nature is an original project with a sophisticated visual language whose technical execution is exemplary. It stimulates and connects with the viewer’s intellect and emotions, inviting us to stop, engage, and want to discover more about the subject at hand.”
“Successful works of staged photography are the ones that allow room for the naturally existing and the uncontrollable to exist simultaneously with the staged acts or compositions while still conveying a coherent whole. I believe Al Abyad achieved that successfully,” said jury member Sham Enbashi while commenting about Khadija Al Abyad, the winner in the staged photography category.
Since its launch in 2013, Vantage Point Sharjah has focused on various themes, including ‘Self-Portraiture’, ‘Performance’ and ‘Architecture and Urban Landscape’. The wide range of work presented in this year’s exhibition showcases the unique and limitless possibilities of photography as a medium. Some works reveal intimate portraits of family life and memories, while others reflect on their homeland’s often-troubled history and politics. Together, the nearly 200 images on view present an evocative and inspiring insight into the life and concerns of individuals from around the world.
VPS9 runs until December 18, and admission is free.