Joana Choumali becomes the first African artist to win the Pictet photography prize

Joana Choumali, Ca va aller (2018)
The artist, who hails from the Ivory Coast, was awarded the prize at a ceremony held on November 13 at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.


The theme of this eighth edition, "Hope", resonated with the artist's work, whose Ça Va Aller series was based on the suffering of those living in Grand-Bassam on the Ivory Coast after the 2016 attack. In a country where internal, psychological suffering is not considered, these photographs, embroidered with roads, illustrate the angst, all whilst acting as a method of healing for the artist.


Represented by the 1957 Gallery (Ghana), the artist bowled over visitors at the London 1.54 art fair in October.


The jury, which included last year’s winner, Richard Mosse, praised Choumali’s “brilliantly original meditation on the ability of the human spirit to wrest hope and resilience from even the most traumatic events”.


The award, established in 2008, has become the leading international prize for photographers. Its six previous laureates are Benoit Aquin, Nadav Kander, Mitch Epstein, Luc Delahaye, Michael Schmidt and Valérie Belin — until now the only woman to have been selected by the jury.