May 9, 2023

Cynthia MaiWa Sitei amongst winners of the V&A Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography

Cynthia MaiWa Sitei is one of five winners of the inaugural prize. Cynthia was a fellow on the Weston Jerwood Creatives Bursaries 2020-22 programme.

The V&A have announced the five winners of the inaugural V&A Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography: an exciting new annual initiative dedicated to identifying, supporting, and championing innovative women artists.

The winners are: Anya Tsaruk, Gohar Dashti, Vân-Nhi Nguyễn, Cynthia MaiWa Sitei and Priyadarshini Ravichandran.

Cynthia MaiWa Sitei is a Kenyan British visual artist and curator whose work is heavily influenced by the culture of storytelling. She integrates photography, text and the archive to explore themes such as stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. Responding to the colonial archive of British social anthropologist Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard, ‘spear of a nation’ embarks on its own expedition to critically reflect on acculturation and assimilation, and the legacy of colonialism.

Cynthia was a Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries 2020 – 2022 fellow at Ffotogallery, Cardiff, Wales, where she held the role of Creative Producer. During her WJCB Fellowship, she curated two exhibitions at Ffotogallery, one with 12 exceptional photographers from Africa, More Than a Number, and a collaborative digital project, Where’s my Space?. Cynthia also developed her own projects focused on albinism and telling stories of those facing stigma in Kenya. She was announced as one of the Wales Venice 10 Fellows in 2022. She is now working as an independent curator and photographer.

Produced in partnership with Peckham 24, south London’s innovative three-day photography festival, the V&A Parasol Foundation Prize amplifies the voices of women, champions diversity and promotes equality in the arts. It has been made possible by the support of Ms. Ruth Monicka Parasol and The Parasol Foundation Trust.

The prize attracted nearly 1,400 submissions from artists all over the world, representing a broad visual and conceptual interpretation of the theme ‘Agents of Change’, which celebrates photography’s role in affecting and documenting transformation, revolution and innovation.

The five winning artists were chosen from a shortlist of ten by the V&A prize selection committee, comprising of Lesley A. Martin, Creative Director of Aperture; Ronan Mckenzie, photographer, curator and founder of Black-owned artist space HOME; and Turner nominated multi-media artist and lecturer Ingrid Pollard.

Each artist will receive a bursary of £2,000 and exhibit their work at the Copeland Gallery, London, opening Friday 12 May 2023 as part of the Peckham 24 festival programme. Selected artists will participate in talks and events as part of the Photo London art fair and during Peckham 24.

Earl, Three Cliffs Bay, Swansea. spear of a nation, 2021. Cynthia MaiWa Sitei.