Pikin and Appolinaire
Jo-Anne McArthur, Canada
Jo-Anne McArthur, born in Canada in 1976, discovered photography early during her geography degree, initially as an artistic medium, but then, as she calls it, “as a tool to affect change”. First and foremost, the author, photojournalist and animal rights activist seeks to affect this change in our relations with animals. She has published several books, including Captive, in preparation for which she documented the sad life of zoo animals for a whole decade. Her work has been exhibited widely and published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, in Der Spiegel, Die Zeit and in National Geographic. In 2018 the photograph shown here earned her the audience award at the international competition Wildlife Photographer of the Year. There is a very, very beautiful interview with Jo-Anne McArthur available on YouTube, put up on 20 October 2017. We warmly recommend watching it.
Making peace with creation. For photographer Jo-Anne McArthur this means making the world a better place for animals, too. The intimacy we see here comes from the rescue of an orphaned young gorilla from bushmeat hunters in Cameroon. The jury was unanimous in selecting it as the winner in the individual photograph category. The ape is called Pikin and sits on the lap of Appolinaire Ndohoudou, who works for the animal protection initiative Ape Action Africa and who himself grew up as an orphan. Here Pikin is driven to a larger protective enclosure after treatment at an animal clinic. The orphaned gorilla has been sedated for the transport, wakes up briefly, finds itself in the arms of a human and, reassured, soon falls asleep again. Jo-Anne McArthur firmly believes that animals are individuals and have feelings. And if proof were needed she supplied it with this magnificent picture full of tenderness. A moment when it transpires that animals too know a feeling of safety and comfort, are able and willing to trust and need affection. And that they recognize when it is offered to them. (Text by Peter-Matthias Gaede)