Throughout history, certain years and cultural moments mark significant changes and threats to social and political justice – equity for all people. In 2017, the newly elected government in Romania wanted to decriminalize corruption offenses, and Romanians marched in what was a comparable gathering since the fall of communism in Bucharest. Pressure from the citizens forced the government to back down and the Justice Minister resigned shortly. In 2017, the day after the presidential inauguration, hundreds of thousands of women marched on Washington, D.C. and sister cities as a gesture of protest about the treatment of women, and for the values of equity and equality.
The publication of former official White House photographer Pete Souza’s book Shade, highlights the same moment. In Kerala, Indian Catholic sisters broke rank with the church, protesting rape from a bishop, as they expressed their dissent in the streets. Time magazine named the “Silence Breakers” the Person of the Year for 2017, and in 2011, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, the magazine bestowed the same label on “The Protestor”. In 2018, in the midst of an evolving digital era also characterized by social justice upheaval and the rise of hate crimes directed at people of color – and others seen as “others” – we find ourselves in yet another cultural moment in which struggles for equity characterize the day. This is, in short, the resistance period. People are organizing and understanding the power of prepared action in both big and subtle ways.
Resistance: The Exhibition curates the best global photographic images around the theme of resistance. Submission ended on January 27, 2020 and we received over 100 submissions! Thank you for your participation. The selected entries are exhibited at American University’s School of Communication till March 30, 2020.
Meet the Juror: KK Ottesen
KK Ottesen is an author, journalist and photographer, who shares the stories of people’s lives through first-person narrative interviews and photographic portraits. Through her work, Ottesen seeks to bring her audiences close to her subjects to break down barriers and stereotypes and allow for the discovery and celebration of common ground. Ottesen has contributed to The Washington Post Magazine over the past decade; her work has also appeared in Esquire, The San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, New York Daily News, Ms.com, HUCK, Washingtonian, bitch media, and elsewhere. She is the author and photographer of ACTIVIST: Portraits of Courage (Chronicle, 2019), which features interviews and photographs with more than forty activists – from John Lewis and Angela Davis to leaders of Black Lives Matter, The Tea Party, and Standing Rock – who recount the moments and decisions that sparked their activism. Ottesen’s first book, Great Americans, explored what it means to be an American through interviews and photographs with everyday individuals who happen to share names with some of the country’s most famous and infamous icons. Ottesen earned a bachelor’s from Wesleyan University and a master’s from Yale. More of her work can be found at kkottesen.com or @kk.ottesen.