There is Hope in a sustainable future

The Victoria and Albert museum in South Kensington, London is hosting a free-entry photography exhibition called “Hope” until 8th December 2019. It is showing at the Porter gallery which is located on the left hand side of the museum’s main entrance. 

This curated exhibition presents artworks from 12 shortlisted photographers of the Prix Pictet, which is the world’s leading award for photography and sustainability. The Prix Pictet has ran seven cycles since 2008 and each cycle has explored various themes such as Water, Earth, Growth, Power, Consumption, Disorder and Space. All of these themes are related to the concept of sustainability. 

This year’s exhibition celebrates the Prix Pictet’s eighth cycle and of which, “Hope” was set as the leading theme. It touches on subjects like recycling, reforestation and rewilding and shines lights on the positive changes that are starting to be made on sustainability. This exhibition resonates the V&A’s action on sustainability as recently, they have eliminated the sale of plastic bags and are urging the use of paper bags and tote bags to promote sustainability in their shops. 

The Eighth Prix Pictet was awarded to Ivorian photographer, Joana Choumali, for her series “Ca va aller” (it will be ok).  Her winning series highlights the trauma and mental health of the Ivorian people after the terrorist attacks at Grand Bassam, which resulted in 18 fatalities, in 2016. Some of her artwork is shown below:




The 12 photographers are Shahidul Alam, Joana Choumali, Margaret Courtney-Clarke, Rena Effendi, Lucas Foglia, Janelle Lynch, Ross McDonnell, Gideon Mandel, Ivor Prickett, Robin Rhode, Awoiska van der Molen, and Alexia Webster. Some of their artworks are shown below:



Another Way of Looking at Love,2015-18 by Janelle Lynch

Street Studios,2011-18 by Alexia Webster

Transylvania: Built on Grass, 2012 by Rena Effendi

Limbs, 2012 by Ross McDonnell

Human Nature, 2006-19 by Lucas Foglia

Damage: A Testament of Faded Memory, 2016 by Gideon Mendel

Still She Smiles, 2014 by Shahidul Alam

Am schwarzen Himmelsrund (‘In the black heavens’), 2010-18 by Awoiska van der Molen

Principle of Hope, 2017 by Robin Rhode


The VOL team interviewed a few people on their thoughts of the exhibition. 

Josep Soldevila, a V&A shop assistant said, “I think that they can actually bring awareness to problems through art. And you could also see how places can change by humans … like erosion and human plantation. It makes you think about what we do to the world. We are terrible – us, humans.”

Nicole Hill, 21-year-old university student said, “The images were amazing. I especially loved that one photographer who did that embroidery…  I liked that the photographers were from all around the world taking photos from loads of different perspectives.” 


The V&A is hosting the first showing of this exhibition. After it ends, it will be presented in various galleries and museums across the world. If you’re interested in this exhibition, visit the V&A website for more information regarding opening times of the gallery and the museum. 

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Words and photographs: Abigail Obina 

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