November 2016

  • Stain of Nigeria's Riches
    Image from Nigeria, by Stéphane de Rouville

    A worker dips his hands into the Siluko River in southern Nigeria to show the oil-contaminated water surrounding him.

    The oil industry in Nigeria has generated billions of dollars for petroleum companies, but the environment and most of the Nigerian population have far from benefited. Between 1976 and 2001, millions of barrels of oil have spilled into Nigeria’s natural habitats. A 2011 United Nations report found that most people in Ogoniland, a region in the Niger Delta, have lived with chronic oil pollution throughout their lives. Oil companies have tried to escape responsibility for the spills and the Nigerian government has done little to address decades of ecological destruction. In June of 2016, Nigeria’s vice-president finally announced a $1 billion clean-up program in Ogoniland. Experts estimate that the restoration will take up to 25 years to complete.

    Stéphane de Rouville is a freelance photojournalist based in France, whose work focuses upon nomadic life and endangered cultures.

  • Whistleblower in Exile
    Image from Russia, by Arthur Bondar

    Edward Snowden is an American whistleblower living in exile in Russia after leaking classified United States National Security Agency (NSA) documents to the press. He has been called everything from a hero and a patriot to a dissident and a traitor after revealing that the U.S. was conducting extensive and intrusive surveillance on not only foreign countries and leaders, but its own citizens. While U.S. federal prosecutors have charged Snowden with violating the U.S. Espionage Act, his disclosures have led to the reform of an illegal U.S. surveillance program, a new federal law to end bulk collection of call data by the U.S. government, and widespread debates on national security, government secrecy, mass surveillance and information privacy.  As a diverse coalition calls for the U.S President to pardon the NSA whistleblower, Snowden speaks remotely, from exile, to audiences around the world.

    Ukrainian-born Arthur Bondar is a freelance photographer. He studied photography and human rights at New York University, and his works have been published in Time, the New Yorker, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Times of London, and the Wall Street Journal.

    In March 2016, the Allard Prize invited Ben Wizner, Director of the Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in New York City and principal legal advisor to Edward Snowden, to an open forum at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia. A video and summary of the event can be found here.

  • Freedom of Assembly?
    Image from Zimbabwe, by Tafadzwa Ufumeli

    On the steps of the Magistrate’s Court in Harare, Zimbabwe, anti-riot police officers beat an elderly woman who is protesting for electoral reforms. On August 26th, 2016, peaceful protestors against President Robert Mugabe’s government received sanction from the Zimbabwean High Court to proceed with a march through the streets to deliver a petition to the offices of the electoral commission. Despite this court approval and Zimbabwe’s new constitution approved in 2013, which commits the government to ensure the right to freedom of assembly, police moved swiftly to disperse protestors using tear gas, water cannons and batons. President Mugabe has held power since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 and, in recent months, there have been increasing protests against alleged human rights abuses, corruption, and a weakening economy.

    Tafadzwa Ufumeli is a freelance photojournalist associated with NewsDay, a private daily newspaper in Zimbabwe.

  • The Last of Us
    Image from the United States, by Lawrence Sumulong

    Mira Joshaia Benjamin poses for a portrait near a broken window in Springdale, Arkansas. She is one of 29 remaining indigenous inhabitants of Bikini Atoll, a group of 23 islands on a coral reef in the Marshall Islands. Bikinians were asked by the United States military to temporarily leave their homeland in 1946 so that the U.S. could conduct nuclear tests. From 1946 to 1958, they carried out 23 nuclear tests in the area, one with 1000 times the force of the Hiroshima nuclear explosion. The Bikini residents were prevented from returning to their home in the 1970s due to high levels of radiation. Many instead relocated to Kili Island and are now facing the prospect of another exile, as rising sea levels and increased flooding threaten to engulf the remains of their adopted homeland in the Pacific Ocean.  

    Lawrence Sumulong is a Filipino American photographer and the Photograph Editor for Jazz at Lincoln Center based in New York City. This photograph is part of his series that emulates uranotypes, an archaic photographic process that utilizes slightly radioactive uranyl nitrate, to represent the tone and varied textures of this story, as well as the toxic effects of nuclear testing.

  • In the Shadow of the Taj Mahal
    Image from India, by Mustafa AbdulHadi

    In this photograph, the Taj Mahal, a masterpiece of Mughal architecture and UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies elusively behind a curtain of mist while a man rummages through rubbish along the banks of the Yamuna River. The Taj Mahal brings in proceeds of roughly $3.5 million USD (22 crore rupees) per year, over twice that of any other tourist site in the country, yet the riverbanks just outside its walls are strewn with debris. A $44 million USD project to revitalize the Taj Mahal surroundings that began in 2002 was plagued with allegations of embezzlement. The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh state who oversaw the project, Mayawati Prabhu Das, was investigated by the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation and although she was alleged to have acquired new assets vastly disproportionate to her income, authorities declined to prosecute her, citing insufficient evidence. This image, from 2015, presents a stark contrast between the beauty of the palace and the squalor of the surrounding area, which still awaits revitalization.

    Mustafa AbdulHadi is a designer and freelance photographer based in Bahrain. He is interested in exploring different cultures through travel and photography.

  • Tired Clown
    Image from Brazil, by Diego Russo Juliano

    A protestor, tired of feeling down due to the numerous corruption scandals that have marred her government’s reputation, calls for current Brazilian President, Michel Temer to step down. Temer took office following the impeachment of his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff. The Petrobras scandal and others currently investigated under "Operation Car Wash" involved companies forming illegal cartels and operating kickback schemes to win inflated contracts with the semi-public Brazilian multinational oil company. Up to five percent of awarded contracts were thought to be paid out in bribes to corrupt politicians, their parties and Petrobras employees installed in key positions. Since taking office, Temer himself has been accused of corruption, leading many Brazilians to believe that power merely flows from the corrupt to the corrupt. The protestor’s sign reads: “I am tired of being a clown #outTemer.”

    Diego Russo Juliano is a self-taught street photographer from Brazil. He launched the photography website CameraNeon in 2013 and co-leads the day2day Rio Photography Project using unconventional storytelling methods to capture facets of Rio de Janeiro.