Alys Tomlinson has used the Sony Grant to create a series called Vera, which was developed from her award-winning series, Ex-Voto. In this further body of work, she uses film and photography to focus on the fascinating story of a Belarusian nun. Living in a rural convent, Vera has an intense and spiritual connection with the wild horses she looks after on the convent's farm. Other duties include teaching vulnerable men and women (including drug addicts, ex-convicts, domestic abuse survivors and the homeless) new skills, to help them recuperate and find purpose in life. Influenced by Polish and Russian filmmakers, Tomlinson intimately explores Vera's story using personal accounts and drawing on history, tradition and the power of faith.
"The Sony Grant enabled me to travel to Belarus to document life inside a convent with Sr. Vera (featured in my series 'Ex-Voto'). It was a fascinating experience and I was given to access a world often hidden from view. The Grant has given me freedom to experiment with digital and moving image, allowing me to develop my practice and challenge myself creatively,” says Tomlinson
Alys Tomlinson - Having grown up in Brighton, Alys went on to study English Literature and Communications at the University of Leeds. After graduating, she moved to New York for a year and was given her first commission for Time Out, before coming back to London to study photography at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. She has recently completed an MA (Distinction) in Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage at SOAS, University of London. Alys is most interested in the relationship between people and place, exploring themes of environment, belonging and identity. She lives in London and combines commissioned work for editorial, design and advertising clients with personal work, which she publishes and exhibits.