2023 Winners: V&A Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography

May 2, 2023

Today we’re announcing the five winners of the inaugural V&A Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography: an exciting new annual initiative dedicated to identifying, supporting, and championing innovative women artists.

Produced in partnership with Peckham 24, south London’s innovative three-day photography festival, the prize amplifies the voices of women, champions diversity and promotes equality in the arts. It has been made possible by the support of Ms. Ruth Monicka Parasol and The Parasol Foundation Trust.

The prize attracted nearly 1,400 submissions from artists all over the world, representing a broad visual and conceptual interpretation of the theme ‘Agents of Change’, which celebrates photography’s role in affecting and documenting transformation, revolution and innovation.

The five winning artists were chosen from a shortlist of ten by our prize selection committee, comprising of Lesley A. Martin, Creative Director of Aperture; Ronan Mckenzie, photographer, curator and founder of Black-owned artist space HOME; and Turner nominated multi-media artist and lecturer Ingrid Pollard. Of the winning photographers, the selection committee said: ‘This range of artists wonderfully characterizes the concept of “change agents” and demonstrates photography’s ability to capture and influence societal and political evolution. Each artist represents a compelling shift in the medium, from traditional observational documentary practices to the exploration of archives and staged imagery as a means of reflecting upon authentic, lived experiences.’

Each artist will receive a bursary of £2,000 and exhibit their work at the Copeland Gallery, London, opening Friday 12 May 2023 as part of the Peckham 24 festival programme. Selected artists will participate in talks and events as part of the Photo London art fair and during Peckham 24.

A door handle tied with a ribbon in the colours of the Ukrainian flag

Anya Tsaruk is a Ukrainian photographer currently based in Berlin. Her artistic approach initially focussed on documentary and street photography, but evolved in the past year to expose the realities of Russia’s war in Ukraine and its consequences. Her ongoing series ‘Mother Land’ is an autobiographical example of how families have been affected, and continue to live with the trauma of conflict.

A room covered with growing flowers on the floor, with a window looking over a mountainous landscape

Gohar Dashti is an Iranian-American photographer and video artist who currently resides and works in Boston. Her art is deeply influenced by her native country, Iran, and often explores its topography, socio-geography, and the history of war and violence that have affected it.

Two men in front of a boathouse at night

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.

A man standing in front of an expanse of water, hands in pockets

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.

Four people sitting on each others' laps, close up

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.

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