Existence

Shortlist 2018

Suvra Kanti Das

Suvra Kanti Das is a photojournalist whose works refer to the genres of romanticism, grand-guignolesque, black humor and symbolism, that seems he creates work through labor-intensive processes which can be interpreted explicitly as a personal exorcism ritual. In fact, he is inspired by a nineteenth-century tradition of works, in which an ideal of Fulfilled Absence was seen as the pinnacle. His work doesn’t reference any recognizable form. The results are deconstructed to the extent that meaning is shifted and possible interpretation becomes multifaceted. By exploring the concept of landscape in a nostalgic way, he uses references and ideas that are so integrated into the process of the composition of the work that they may escape those who do not take the time to explore how and why these images haunt you, like a good film, long after you’ve seen them.
The Conflict
2018

Existence

"It took us 10 days to come here. They torched our house, stole the animals, money, everything. They killed children, men and women like animals, they raped women. I don't know why they do this. We don’t have any place to stay now; there is no existence." - Mohammad Alam.

Rohingya are a Muslim minority in Myanmar regarded by many Myanmar Buddhists as illegal migrants from Bangladesh. They are denied citizenship in Myanmar and have been described as the world's most persecuted minority. Since the 1970's Rohingya refugees have been coming to Bangladesh from Myanmar. In the 1990s more than 250,000 resided in refugees camps in Bangladesh. In the early 2000's all but 20,000 of them were repatriated to Myanmar, some against their will. As of December 2017, an estimated 655,000 to 700,000 Rohingya people have fled to Bangladesh since August 25th, 2017, to avoid ethnic and religious cleansing by Myanmar's security forces. The Myanmar military and locals have carried out mass rapes of Rohingya. A large portion of Rohingya women aged between 13 and 45 who have managed to escape Myanmar are rape victims. Historically Rohingya have deep roots in northern Rakhine, also called Arakan. Rohingyas have been there since first settlements in the 7th century. Coming from centuries-old ethno-religious divisions, the Rohingya crisis has serious regional and global ramifications.