Amsterdam, Apr 7 (EFE).- A photo by Amber Bracken of red dresses hanging on a roadside in Canada in remembrance of 215 indigenous children whose remains were found in unmarked graves at a former Catholic school in Kamloops won the World Press Photo of the Year award on Thursday.
The Canadian photojournalist’s work, which was published in the New York Times, shows red dresses hanging on crosses along a road in memory of students from the Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia whose bodies were found last year on the grounds of the former school.
The boarding school was one of a number of government institutions run by religious orders where indigenous children were forcibly interned and suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse as part of a system of “re-education” to eliminate indigenous culture.
The president of the World Press Photo jury, Rena Effendi, said Bracken’s work is “a kind of image that sears itself into your memory, it inspires a kind of sensory reaction. I could almost hear the quietness in this photograph, a quiet moment of global reckoning for the history of colonization, not only in Canada but around the world.”
The award for Photographic Reportage of the Year went to Australian photojournalist Matthew Abbott, who depicted a thousand-year old Australian indigenous cultural practice of strategically burning bushes to save the forests and control possible fires.
Brazilian photojournalist Lalo de Almeida was the winner of the Long Term Project Award with his work “Amazon Dystopia,” which “portrays something that does not just have negative effects on the local community but also globally,” Effendi said.
Almeida’s images show how the Amazon rainforest is under “great threat” due to deforestation, mining, infrastructure development and the exploitation of other natural resources, threats that gain momentum under the regressive environmental policies of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
The Open Format Award went to a photographic documentary on the efforts of scientists and ancestral communities to conserve agrobiodiversity in Ecuador by photojournalist Isadora Romero, who, in an interview with Efe, highlighted the risk of losing “cultural memory” through the loss of agricultural diversity. EFE