Patricia Willocq is a Belgian photographer who has made her mark in Africa, and around the world, for her efforts to highlight the plight of vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society. In September 2015, she won the Alfred Fried Peace Photo of the Year Photography Award. The award is open to amateurs and professionals, and aims to shine a light on human efforts to promote peace and the search for goodness in the world. Willocq’s award-winning project ‘Look at me, I am beautiful’ was a culmination of years of work in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
No Stranger to the DRC
‘Look at me, I am beautiful’ is a photo series that tells a story of sexual violence in Africa through images that depict poverty, violence and exploitation. The photographer’s body of work in the DRC is impressive, and in the past she has tackled issues surrounding the treatment of people with albinism in the country, through her project ‘Blanc Ebene’ (‘White Ebony’).
Partnering with the GFF
Willocq’s photography projects were made possible through the support of the Gertler Family Foundation (GFF), an organization founded in 2004 to help support vulnerable Congolese populations. Since then the GFF has donated substantial amounts to fund projects in education, health, agriculture and cultural realms, and has proactively supported the fight against sexual violence directed at women. Co-Founder of the GFF Dan Gertler has commented: “we are delighted that Patricia has won this esteemed award”, and went on to say that the Foundation has been honored to support the cause for so long, and that he was proud of the GFF’s role in helping to “improve these women’s lives.”
Past Winners of the Award
Patricia Willocq now joins an elite group of winners including Emil Gataullin from Russia, who won in 2014 with his project ‘Towards the Horizon’. Winning and shortlisted submissions are exhibited at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, and these are also displayed (along with other outstanding submissions) on the DIGI-WALL at Vienna’s Hauptbahnhof Wien train station.