Africa Soft Power, in association with African Women on Board, launched the Climate Change Photo Essay Prize for young people by open call earlier this year. Four young photographers from three countries were chosen by a judging panel of leading art world figures as finalists for the first-ever Africa Soft Power Climate Change Photo Essay Prize. 

The photographers’ work will be shown globally, with a special display in Nairobi and dedicated exhibitions in New York, London, and Lagos.

Doux Free, a Rwandan photographer, has been chosen by the judges as the overall winner for his series Misty Morning of Changes (The Climate and the Life in the Field). Silhouetted figures walk to the field, carrying their farming equipment on a foggy morning. The series captures what the artist calls the ‘serene connection between humans and the environment’ and the ‘timeless yet evolving impact of climate change on our surroundings’.

The other finalists are Nigerian photographer Eiseke Bolaji, Togolese photographer Emerson Lawson, and Nigerian photographer Abubakar Sadiq Mustapha.

Eiseke Bolaji’s work considers how global cultural interaction impacts daily life. In the series The Old Woman and the Sea, he examines the nuanced and complex relationship between one woman, Mama Alabo, and the ocean. Dredging, overfishing, and plastic pollution now pose a food security challenge to Mama Alabo, who relies on the sea for her livelihood. 

Emerson Lawson’s series AMEWUGA imagines how our (in)actions today will have lasting implications for generations to come. AMEWUGA is an Ewe word meaning human beings are worth more than money. The series is set in the hypothetical year of 2092, where clean air is a luxury and cylinders of oxygen are sold as a commodity. 

Abubakar Sadiq Mustapha’s portrait series Things That Went with the Water explores what came of communities as they began to emerge from the devastation of flooding across North-eastern and North-western Nigeria. 

The Photo Essay Prize exhibition at the Africa Centre showcases the power of art to inspire us all. At a time when conversations about climate change are more urgent than ever, it represents an important opportunity to foster meaningful discussions that transcend borders and elevate the voices of creatives from Africa and the global diaspora community. The prize is being supported by, ClimateWorks Foundation, and law firm, Templars. The prize is part of a wider ‘Road to 100 Million Climate Soldiers in Africa’ campaign currently being run by African Women on Board, and designed to educate and empower young people living on the frontlines of the fight against climate change.


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