DHCenter - logo
Joana Choumali, Untitled, 2019. Series: Ça va aller, 2016-19 © Joana Choumali, Prix Pictet

On September 1st, EPFL’s ArtLab announced that it would be reopening to host a photographic exhibition devoted to finalists of the coveted, international 2019 Prix Pictet in photography and sustainability a from September 4th-October 4th.

The subject of the 2019 exhibition, Hope, fits well with the public reopening of ArtLab, which has been closed to the public for nearly six months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The work of the 12 finalists from all over the world, who were selected from a pool of over 600 nominees, explores the environmental and social crises facing the world today. The images reveal moments of beauty and optimism amid chaos or struggle, and the fruits of efforts devoted to the preservation of the environment.

“The Prix Pictet is the most important prize in the field of photography and sustainable development. This makes its programming at ArtLab – which is positioned at the interface of the arts, science, and society – particularly relevant,” says ArtLab Manager and dhCenter member Anne-Gaëlle Lardeau. “Hosting the Hope exhibition has long been planned, but the photos, their stories, and their resonance take on yet another dimension in this special time we are going through.”

Visitors to ArtLab will be able to view the images in the iconic building’s central pavilion (Pavilion B). An online option will also be offered via a virtual tour of the exhibition, which will be made available on the ArtLab website.

“The Prix brings our audiences fresh and arresting images from many of the world’s emerging and established photographers, focusing awareness and reflection on more sustainable futures,” explains ArtLab Director Sarah Kenderdine.

Stitch by stitch

Ivorian Joana Choumali took the top prize with her series entitled Ca va aller (It Will Be OK), which is a testament to resilience in the face of tragedy. The images, captured on a smartphone three weeks after the March 13, 2016 terrorist attacks on Grand-Bassam, are embellished with beautiful, abstract embroidery.

“This work is a way to address the way Ivorian people deal with trauma and mental health. Each stitch was a way to recover, to lay down the emotions, the loneliness, and mixed feelings I felt,” said Choumali during a ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where the exhibition was inaugurated.

“Adding embroidery on these street photographs was an act of channeling hope and resilience.”

Triumph over adversity

The goal of the Prix Pictet is to harness the power of photography to attract attention

of the general public on the environmental and social issues facing humanity. First awarded in 2008, the prize has since attracted over 4,200 competitors, been the subject of more than 90 exhibitions in 40 cities around the world, and attracted nearly 650,000 visitors.

The theme of the 2019 edition reflects the words of former Prix Pictet president Kofi Annan, delivered during the 2017 prize ceremony: “Perhaps in our ability to carry on in adversity lies hope for us all.”

EPFL previously hosted an exhibition of the contest’s 2018 edition, Space.

“With the generous support of Pictet, EPFL is delighted to be able to host the Prix for a second year at ArtLab with a theme especially pertinent to our times. Hope sets up a context which acquires specific value in the face of our uncertain global conditions,” Kenderdine summarizes.

Exhibition details:

Hope exhibition, Prix Pictet
ArtLab Pavilion B
September 4th-October 4th, 2020,
Free admission
Open from Tuesday to Sunday 11h-18h
Information and visits: artlab@epfl.ch

Source: Celia Luterbacher. A photographic exhibition captures ‘Hope’ at ArtLab. EPFL College of Humanities. 1 September, 2020.

Awards and honors

Alexandre Camus receives thesis award

Resources

The University of Lausanne’s COVID-19 research portal

Research and projects

CROSS program funds four digital humanities projects

Career opportunities

University of Zurich Digital Society Initiative Excellence Program for PhD students