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Martina Bacigalupo July 13, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burundi.
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Jeanine and Odette, 11, Gitega, Burundi, 2008

Martina Bacigalupo (b.1978, Italy) studied photography at the London College of Communication. In 2005 she won the Black & White Photographer of the Year Award, then worked for photographer Giorgia Fiorio in Paris, where she joined the Reflexions Masterclass. For the past three years Martina has been working in Burundi, East Africa, focusing on human rights issues. She worked for the UN and is now collaborating with international NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, Care, and MSF. Her work has been published in the Sunday Times Magazine Jeune Afrique, Le Monde 2 among others. Martina was selected for the 2008 World Press Photo Master Class and won the Amilcare Ponchielli Grin Award in 2009. She was awarded the Canon Female Photojournalist Award in 2010.

About the Photograph:

“This picture is part of a project which explores the relationship of the self and the other, through the relationship of identical twins. The title of the work comes from the Japanese ideogram used to represent the human being (Hito) two lines, which represent two people, leaning one on another. For them, what makes human is to stand together. If one steps back the other falls. The children’s mother in this photograph was poisoned a few years ago. They now live with their elderly father. In class the other children tell them that someone will come one day and kill them just like all other albinos, so they stay together the whole time and never leave each other. In Burundi there are approximately 620 albinos. Ignorance and superstition has made them the minority of minorities and they have to fight for survival against nature and man. The majority of albinos in Africa have no means to protect themselves and many have skin cancer. Skin diseases have a serious impact on people’s quality of life, causing discrimination and therefore lost of productivity at work and school.”