1st Place; Miruku by Marisol Mendez & Federico Kaplan
Miruku focuses on the Wayuus, an indigenous population from La Guajira, Colombia’s coastal desert. Commissioned by 1854/British Journal of Photography and WaterAid, the project examines how a combination of climate change issues and human negligence have led its various members to experience a stifling water shortage. In the region, the problem is cyclical and polymorphous. While some communities can achieve certain stability during rainy seasons, temperatures are bound to rise, drying up the land again. Global warming only aggravates this, causing droughts and famine, and spoiling the facilities and installations that help source clean water.
We framed the story from a female perspective to get a better understanding of how gender inequality and climate vulnerability interrelate. We sought to highlight the strength and resourcefulness of the Wayuu women, as we found it inspiring that, even under such conditions, they have established themselves as community leaders, teachers and climate activists. Through our diptychs we wanted to convey a visual balance between a raw and a lyrical documentation, and achieve a nuanced portrayal of a multihued situation.