Born in 1993 in the Philippines, Ezra Acayan has won the 2018 Ian Parry Scholarship Award for Achievement for his series Duterte’s War On Drugs Is Not Over, which records the fall out from the war on drugs which President Rodrigo Duterte announced in 2016.
Threatening those connected to drug consumption and sales with the death penalty, Duterte urged members of the public to kill suspected criminals and drug addicts, and allowed the police to act with brutality. In the two years since, an estimated 20,000 people have been murdered and a state of emergency has been declared. The United Nations has appealed to the Philippine government to investigate extrajudicial killings and to prosecute the perpetrators, while the International Criminal Court has announced preliminary examinations into killings linked to the campaign.
Tough and hard-hitting, Acayan’s images aim to “illuminate the violent acts carried out in the Philippines as well as the questionable methods of Duterte and the police”.
Born in Tehran, Iran, in 1988, Hashem Shakeri studied architecture in TAFE (New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission of Australia), and started his professional photography career in 2010. In 2015 he was Commended in the Ian Parry Scholarship, and in 2017 his images were included in the Rencontres d’Arles exhibition Iran, Year 38, alongside work by photographers such as Abbas Kiarostami and Newsha Tavakolian.
Shakeri’s ongoing series on climate change in Sistan and Balouchestan looks at the effect of drought in the Iranian province, which is located in the southeast of the country, bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has been suffering from drought for the last 18 years, which has created severe famine in a region once famed for its agriculture and forests. “Nowadays, the Sistan region has faced astonishing climate change, which has turned this wide area into an infertile desert empty of people,” writes Shakeri.
For Léonie Hampton, photography is a tool to connect with the present moment. “I use it to explore the experience of being in a place, and being in that moment in time,” she says. Most recently this approach inspired Mend, her project for the 2017 Rome Commission which will be on show at the Italian Cultural Institute as part of Photo London this week. “Rome is a great place to explore the idea of being in the present,” says Hampton, “because everywhere you go there are layers of time, visually and architecturally”.
Merrie Albion: Landscape Studies of a Small Island is a concise compendium of Britain over the past few years and is an excellent visual survey of the run-up to Brexit. The photographs examine rich and complex variations of Britain that are now even more poignant after last year’s vote. Images of election campaigning in clean and tidy suburbia, protests, the aftermath of riots in London, diamond jubilee celebrations, rock concerts, a family enjoying Brighton beach, computer screens of the trading floor of Lloyds – the list goes on. Roberts has managed to capture all the major events in juxtaposition with minor situations that are large with meaning, from the dead of the Iraq war being saluted by Army veterans through Wootton Bassett to an depiction of impoverished mothers and children at a youth club in Blackburn. Contained within each photograph are mini dramas, cheap-looking high streets with pound shops set against Victorian architecture. Roberts shows a Britain at odds with itself. Rather than a harmonious society, we sense fragmentation and awkwardness and a yearning for a glorious past that never existed.
Launched in 1991, the Ian Parry Scholarship is an annual photographic competition for young photographers under the age of 24 or attending a full-time photographic course. Announced in July, this year’s winner Yuyang Liu, hailing from China, submitted a portfolio of images documenting the lives of people suffering with mental illness from Guangdong Province. Hosam Katan (Syria) was highly commended for his work, and Hashem Shakeri (Iran), Isadora Kosofsky (USA) and Salahuddin Ahmed (Bangladesh). An exhibition of this year’s winning and commended work, curated by Rebecca McClelland, is being exhibited this month at London’s Hoxton Gallery. The award was launched in 1991 in honour of Ian Parry, a 24-year-old photojournalist who was tragically killed whilst on assignment for The Sunday Times in December 1989 in Romania. The Scholarship comes with a £3500 grant for the production of a documentary body of work. The winner also receives a choice of equipment from Canon, has their work published in The Sunday Times Magazine, is automatically added to the final list of nominees for the Joop Swart Masterclass …