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August 2010

The Canon Female Photojournalist Award for 2010, presented by the French Association of Female Journalists (AFJ), has been awarded to Martina Bacigalupo (Italy) for her proposed report, 'Uganda : The resistance of the forgotten', exploring the everyday life of a wounded woman and her amazing endurance, managing to sustain her six grand children.

The members of the jury were: Cyril Drouhet (Figaro Magazine), Monica Allende (The Sunday Times Magazine), Magali Jauffret (L'Humanité), Dan Torres (Jeune Afrique), Delphine Lelu (Visa pour l'Image) and Jean-Bernard Maurel (DirectSoir). The AFJ was represented by Brigitte Huard and Catherine Lalanne (Pèlerin magazine), and Florence Panoussian (AFP).

The prize, which is sponsored by Canon France and supported by Figaro Magazine, will be presented to Bacigalupo on Saturday 4 September 2010 at the Visa pour l'Image International Festival of Photojournalism. The prize money (€8000) provides funding for the award-winner to do the report and complete the project within one year. The work will then be presented as an exhibition or a feature in an evening programme at the 2011 Visa pour l'Image festival.

Martina Bacigalupo is 32 years old and is represented by Agence Vu. After reading literature and philosophy in Italy, she studied photography at the London College of Communication. In 2005 she won the Black & White Photographer of the Year Award. She also worked for photographer Giorgia Fiorio in Paris, where she joined the Reflexions Masterclass.


Martina Bacigalupo.

For the past three years Martina has been working as a freelance photographer in East Africa, mainly based in Burundi, focusing on human rights issues. She worked for the United Nations and is now collaborating with international NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, Care, Médecins Sans Frontières and Handicap International.

"Continuing the tradition of documentary photography, she is particularly involved in the condition of women in Africa. Martina produces stories in which the delicacy of the approach in no way diminishes the strength of the subject matter she portrays," said a spokesperson for the AFJ.

In 'Uganda: the Resistance of the Forgotten' the Italian photographer will follow Fielda, a woman from Uganda. Fielda is 52 years old. The place where she comes from was one of the most devastated by the war. Her husband was imprisoned and starved to death by his captors. She was then 'inherited' by her brother-in-law who infected her with HIV before he died. She was left alone with five children and worked as a manual labourer in order to feed them and pay for their schooling. In 1996 she stepped on a landmine and lost her left leg. In her community nobody helped her. One of her children was killed at the age of 12 in an ambush on his way to school.

Bacigalupo said: "I met Fielda during a research trip with Human Rights Watch. When I arrived at the village, she was kneeling on the ground, digging in the field, her naked breast sweating in the sun. I couldn't see any victim, I could only see a woman determined to cultivate her field. I was in front of a warrior of an ancient resistance."

She added: "It seems as if there is no end to pain and injustice, but I have also learnt that the only victims that exist are those who feel victimised, and the people I have encountered do not cry; they fight."