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Getty Images announces the ARRAY Grant winners and they look lit

It’s time to Kulture up!

Getty Images and ARRAY  have announced the four visual artists who were awarded $5,000 for their projects highlighting fatherhood, feminism, culture, and the African Diaspora.

The four winners from the USA, Madagascar, UK, and Egypt were selected carefully.  After reviewing over 500 global submissions, a panel of esteemed industry experts sifted through and discovered the photographic and filmmaking talents of Shawn TheodoreMiora Rajaonary, Curtis Essel, and Mayye Zayed.

The works of the two photographers and two filmmakers that were selected are exactly what our global community thirsts for.

The Philadelphia based photographer, Shawn Theodore’s, ‘Church of Broken Pieces’ submission was an investigation into the African American and African Diasporic life within disappearing Black American neighborhoods.

According to Theodore,

“The images are charged with people, objects and icons beaming with their own authority, negating the oppressive structures dimming the vibrancy of African American life such as; displacement, gentrification, and socio-economic disparity.”

Malagasy photographer, Miora Rajaonary used her photographic talents to capture the cultural identity and heritage of her home country by examining the role of the traditional garment worn within the island nation’s society.

She said,

“LAMBA is a photography project intended to show how this Malagasy garment serves as a valued symbol of the island’s cultural heritage, beyond its role as elegant and ornamental clothing. We, Malagasy, offer cloth in return for blessings, or to demonstrate ethnic identity, status and ties of mutual respect, love and loyalty.”

Curtis Essel director of 33 BOUND, a creative collective based in London, questioned the idea of fatherhood using his (unfinished) film project ‘AGYA’. AGYA which translates to ‘Father’ in Twi (Ghanaian Dialect), delves into the life of Yaw, a father of four.

To Essel, the short doc calls for an answer to “What is fatherhood? Is it financial support? Is it emotional support? Which one is more valuable?”

Closing out this year’s Getty ARRAY Grant winners stands Egyptian Mayye Zayed and her film Lift Like a Girl. 

The movie, made in collaboration with cinematographer Mohamad El-Hadidi, challenges the traditional female stereotypes and celebrates gender equality through the story of a young girl Zebiba, who dreams of becoming a professional weightlifter.

Unlike most of the documentaries coming out Zayed’s region of the world, Lift Like a Girl puts women in the right light. She said,

“LIFT LIKE A GIRL tackles gender equality and women empowerment, as it breaks the stereotypes about women, not only in Egypt or the Arab world but also all over the world. Unlike most of the documentaries coming out of the region, women in this film are not victims.”

To remind you of how lit the Getty ARRAY Grant is, ARRAY is an NPO that was founded by new-waver Ava Duvernay. She launched the collective to magnify films made by people of color and women of all kinds.

“There are underrepresented images of considerable beauty made within communities of color. Our creative collective was founded on the premise that the visions and voices of marginalized artists must be amplified,” said Mercedes Cooper, ARRAY’s Director of Marketing.

The collaboration with Getty Images was established in hopes of elevating the visual narrative of underrepresented ethnic communities. It’s important we don’t forget that there are creatives using their medium to progress visual representation from places all over the world.

Andy Saunders, Getty Images’ Senior Vice President of Creative Content seems to agree and believes that it is the visual communications company’s responsibility. He said,

“At Getty Images we believe it is our responsibility support and enable photographers, filmmakers and content creators that are pushing the industry forward, and are especially proud to award these grants to four creatives who are challenging the visual norm and evoking new conversations…”

Saunders continued,

“The creative talent, powerful storytelling and overall quality of work received through this process has been second to none.”

Hopefully, these four visual artists have inspired you to create and maybe next year there will be a spot for you in the grant’s winning circle. For now, get encouraged to showcase your unique culture. Know that the world can’t wait to see it!