Ivorian photographer becomes first African to win Prix Pictet

Ivorian photographer Joana Choumali has won the prestigious Prix Pictet photography prize, making her the first African to win the award.

She received a cash prize of 100,000 Swiss francs ($112,000; £87,000) for her pictures in which she embroidered ornate patterns on to photographs.

Copyright: Joana Choumali

The pictures are a response to attacks on a sleepy beach resort in southern Ivory Coast in 2016.

Militants killed 18 people in a gun attack in Grand Bassam. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) said it launched the attack.

Copyright: Joana Choumali

She took the pictures for her series called Ça Va Aller, which is French for “It will be OK”, three weeks after the attacks on Sunday 13 March 2016.

Copyright: Joana Choumali

She said she processed the pain through embroidery.

“Each stitch was a way to recover, to lay down the emotions, the loneliness, and mixed feelings I felt,” she said.

Copyright: Joana Choumali

The jury deemed her work a “brilliantly original meditation on the ability of the human spirit to wrest hope and resilience from even the most traumatic events”, said chairman of the jury Sir David King.

Main image copyright: Joana Choumali

First published 14.11.19: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-africa

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