Young photographers from Brazil, the Philippines and Kenya are the three winners of the inaugural WIPO Photography Prize for Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Youth 2021-2022.
Theme Climate change and climate action: Mother Earth through our goals, the WIPO Photography Prize encourages young people from indigenous and local communities to speak out about climate change and climate action – while raising awareness of how copyright can be used to protect their creativity expressed in photographs.
Young people have the greatest stake in the future of our planet, which is why I am pleased that the first-ever WIPO Photography Prize offers young people from indigenous and local communities the opportunity to express themselves through photography on the climate crisis and other related challenges they face. These young creators, whose work is protected by copyright, can use the full power of photography to better express their concerns about the world and share best practices in their communities.
– Daren Tang, Director General, WIPO
Among the hundreds of applications received, a total of 30 photographs entered the final stage of the competition. An independent jury of four international photographers from indigenous and local communities has selected three winners for the awards which will be presented at an event at WIPO to celebrate International Mother Earth Day (April 22).
Third place: Verine Ogutu, Luo (Kenya)
Verine Ogutu, 24, is a young woman from the Luo community in Kenya. She is a student in communication and passionate about photography.
Verine’s photo shows two buffaloes stuck in the mud of a water trough they used as a watering hole. As Verine explained, the recent drought in parts of northern Kenya is negatively affecting wild and domestic animals who have to travel farther in search of food.
However, the Verine community is not giving up. “We learned about rain patterns and started planting drought-tolerant plants that tolerate harsh weather conditions. This provides fodder for domestic animals and also serves as forest cover. We also plant trees that attract rainfall.”
Verine hopes her photo will help others around the world understand the importance of wildlife to her community. “All over the world, we are affected by climate change in one way or another. Do all you can to preserve Mother Earth, for it is the only place we call home”.
As the third winner, Verine wins camera equipment of her choice worth up to US$1,500.
Second place: Prince Loyd Besorio, Subanen (Philippines)
Prince Loyd Besorio, 22, is a young Subanen leader from the Philippines. He is a journalist, volunteer, photojournalist and content creator. Prince is passionate about the ocean and describes himself as “a thalassophile but a land mermaid”. Prince and his community are concerned about the water and ocean pollution they witness on a daily basis by the sea. community before we can help solve the macro environmental problem of the world which is irresponsibility and apathy”.
His photograph shows a tradition of a Sama Bajaus group in the Philippines of creating new objects from human waste, in order to benefit the preservation of the environment. In the photo, a girl from Sama Bajaus cuts recycled plastic waste into strips to make a decorative pillow. “My photo shows Sama Bajau’s empathy towards the ocean environment. They strongly believe in the spirits of the sea, that if you respect the ocean, it will provide you with the abundance of fishing called padalleang,” he explains. he.
Speaking of the Subanen, Prince says they interpret climate change as the punishment sent by Magbabaya (Supreme Being) due to the community’s failure to perform its role as good stewards of natural resources. Nevertheless, even though they live in a traditional low-carbon way, the climate crisis is still negatively affecting the community of Prince due to their close connection to nature.
With second place, Prince wins photographic equipment of his choice worth up to US$2,500.
First place: Joanderson Gomes de Almeida, Pankararu (Brazil)
Joanderson Gomes de Almeida, 30, is an indigenous Pankararu from the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. Joanderson is currently completing a master’s course at the University of Brasilia.
The Pankararu people have a very strong characteristic of preserving indigenous culture and traditions, Joanderson says. Unfortunately, his community is heavily punished by periods of no rain and no drought, which makes it difficult to carry out traditional agricultural activities.
His photograph shows a tradition called the grubbing up of the vine, which is part of the Corrida do Imbu festival. Tradition helps predict whether the coming year will be a year of good harvests, abundance and good rains, or it will be a lean year. “At this time, the cosmological beings give us the path, the orientation of what the climate will be during this period”, explains Joanderson. The tradition also causes each member of the community to think about what could have been done differently and how they can improve their attitude towards Mother Nature.
Joanderson’s message to innovators around the world is to partner with Indigenous peoples as “[their] the relationship with nature is one of respect and not mercantile, because it is from the earth that we draw our food in a conscious and sustainable way.
“There is still a solution for our planet,” he says.
With first place, Joanderson wins photographic equipment of his choice worth up to US$3,500.
Jury Honorable Mentions
“My photo shows a mangrove plant that had resisted sea level rise,” says Jovi Totorea, a young Solomon Islander from the Hauhui village community. “Mangrove has the potential to mitigate sea level rise caused by climate change and act as a biological barrier against strong winds for low-lying communities. Therefore, restoring mangroves is a better option. for my local community to mitigate the effects of climate change”.
Mery Nube Utitiaj Nunink, a young Shuar woman from Ecuador, captured two children playing in the water. According to Mery, either through lack of awareness or simply not being heard, people in her community give up the fight against reality, choosing to accept and adapt to changes. “That’s the meaning behind this photograph: the bottle and the tube are the problem; the children’s smiles show that they are adapting and managing their situation patiently and harmoniously,” she explains.
Exhibition of photographs at WIPO Headquarters
Starting today, the thirty shortlisted photographs are on display at WIPO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The photography exhibit is open to our staff and guests until May 6, 2022.
WIPO Director General Daren Tang officially announced the winners during the opening ceremony of the exhibition which took place today.
The Photography Prize was launched on August 12, 2021, as part of the celebration of international youth day. This activity has been designed in consultation with an advisory board made up of representatives of indigenous peoples and local communities, including youth, organizations, governments and individuals working on climate change, biodiversity, photography, intellectual property , media and entrepreneurship.
Due to their close relationship with and dependence on the environment and its resources, indigenous and local communities are among the first to face the direct consequences of climate change, such as increased drought, loss of biological diversity, poverty and displacement, higher temperatures and rising sea levels, among many others. In the meantime, these communities are the main holders of traditional knowledge, which can play an important role in assessing the impact of climate change and promoting adaptation to climate change. In recent years, the role of indigenous peoples and local communities in mitigating the impact of climate change has been recognized in a number of public debates at local, national and international levels.