Santu Mofokeng (b. 1956, Johannesburg) is the first artist to receive the biennial honor, which has been established by Fondazione Fotografia Modena and Sky Arte HD to recognise a living photographer of any nationality, whose artistic research has made a significant contribution to the development of the language of imagery in any of its multifaceted declinations.
Santu Mogfokeng has received an award of € 70,000. Coinciding with the award ceremony, the Fondazione Fotografia Modena has presented his solo exhibition ‘Santu Mofokeng. A Silent Solitude‘ , curated by Simon Njami, on view at the Modena Foro Boario, Italy, March 6 to May 8, 2016.
An international jury selected Santu Mofokeng as the winner of the 2016 Prize from a short list of six finalists, which included Claudia Andujar(Switzerland), Rineke Dijkstra (the Netherlands), Jim Goldberg (US), Yasumasa Morimura (Japan), and Zanele Muholi (South-Africa).
The international jury, chaired by Filippo Maggia, Director, Fondazione Fotografia Modena, was comprised of eminent curators and museum directors, including Christine Frisinghelli (Camera Austria), Shinji Kohmoto(Parasophia Festival Kyoto), Simon Njami(Revue Noir), and Thyago Nogueira (head, Department of Photography, Instituto Moreira Salles, Brasil).
The jury statement describes their decision: “Everyone was very aware of the great responsibility of choosing a winning photographer, not only for his or her interpretation of the given theme – identity – but also for offering a suitable vision of what the International Photography Prize aims at becoming over the years. Not one of the many celebratory awards, nor a prize for lifetime achievement, but an example of quality. Santu Mofokeng is an artist who has made his reserve a way of life; he does not belong to any system and this freedom has enabled him to create stunning images. His creativity is totally open-ended, it does not focus on a specific subject but revolves around the theme of establishing an identity. The variety of subjects and the ability to approach them clear-sightedly and with rational starkness distinguish his oeuvre”. It has also been stated that “Santu Mofokeng has been able to develop a strong career and an uncompromising body of work in photography, documenting South African reality from the Apartheid period to the present time; the question of black identity and integration between communities has always been crucial to his work”.
Sky Arte HD has produced a special tv show recounting the various stages of the Prize, from the initial selection process to the award ceremony and exhibition of the winner, to be broadcasted on March 7, 14, and 21, 2016, 8.40 pm.
Santu Mofokeng. A Silent Solitude is accompanied by a catalogue published by Skira