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Creative competition for 25s and under now open

A competition created by The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) with British photographer, Rankin, is now open for applications for any UK person aged 25 and under.

Being run in partnership with the Royal Drawing School, the competition invites young artists across the UK to take inspiration from Rankin’s work, learn about someone affected by the Holocaust, genocide or identify-based persecution and create a portrait of them.

This portrait will reveal the ‘extraordinary elements of seemingly ordinary people’.

The competition is in advance of Holocaust Memorial Day 2023, which will take place 27 January.

Entrants can submit their work using a range of visual art forms including photography, drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, graphic design or typography.

Rankin’s ‘[Extra] Ordinary Portraits’ focuses the photographer’s lens on ordinary people who survived genocide. 

He has made five images; four of men and women who survived genocides, and one of the teddy bear who accompanied a boy called John through the Budapest ghetto and beyond.

On photographing survivors of genocide, Rankin Said: “Working with Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is always an incredible honour, it’s an ongoing relationship and one that I hope continues long into the future. 

“To meet with survivors and to be entrusted with capturing their stories is more than just a project – it’s a privilege. 

“Collaboration is the key to everything I do, so when each survivor steps onto set I work with them to ensure we do their story justice. 

“I learn so much from every survivor’s story, their ability to take what has happened to them and turn it into something positive is nothing less than inspirational.”

HMDT Chief Executive Oliva Marks-Woldman said: “We are so pleased that Rankin was able to get involved with this competition. 

“The pictures he has taken are hugely powerful statements that shed light on their subjects’ histories and characters. 

“This year’s theme for Holocaust Memorial Day is Ordinary People. 

“The people featured here were ordinary, but these pictures show how extraordinary their lives really are.”

The survivors photographed by Rankin were:

– Amouna Adam, who escaped from Darfur in 2009 and is now an activist, sharing her story and campaigning for justice

– Sokphal Din, who survived the Cambodian genocide by escaping to refugee camps before coming to the UK

– John Hajdu, who was forced into the Budapest Ghetto as a 7-year-old. He took his teddy bear with him, survived Nazi occupation, lived through the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and escaped to a new life in London

– Antoinette Mutabazi, who was just 11 years old when she survived the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. She hid from the killers who had brutally murdered most of her family and survived a massacre in a church, and she now educates (mostly) young people about the dangers of prejudice and intolerance.

John's teddy bear
John’s teddy bear

Find out more about what Rankin said about each survivor he photographed here.

The judges for the competition are:

– Olivia Marks-Woldman, CEO of the HMDT

– Rankin, photographer

-Antoinette Mutabazi, educator and one of the inspirations of the project

-Tulip Sidiqq MP, Trustee of HMDT

-Gideon Summerfield, acclaimed young portraitist

Judges will be selecting 30 portraits to be showcased in the UK Commemorative Ceremony for Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 which will be screened to tens of thousands of people across the UK in January 2023. 

30 winners will also receive a £25 Cass Art voucher and an art book.

Entries for the competition must be received by 5 December 2022.

Full details, including hints and tips, can be found here.

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