Ghassane Kaaibich, Morocco
Photographer Ghassane Kaaibich is largely unknown in our part of the world. In 2015 he joined the Moroccan-Mauritanian cultural association Caravane Tighmert, took part in a documentary film on Kabareh Cheikhats, a group of men performing Moroccan women’s music, and worked at the e-commerce agency Space, as well as on other projects.
Her home is the Central-African rainforest in southern Cameroon, home to the pygmies of the Bakoula people. For individuals to start a quest, not for the next village, but across many borders into a completely new world, may be quite rare. Even today, many pygmy children don’t even attend school. The people in the forest, often nomadic, avoid contact with modernity.
Yet Ahyae set off. From Cameroon across Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Algeria, at first to Morocco. Ahyae is transsexual. In Rabat she met Moroccan photographer Ghassane Kaaibich, who portrayed her. Who created an image of inner peace with her. A peace that Ahyae only found in liberal Canada.
There, Kaaibich reports, she feels free from discrimination and harassment, feels accepted. And has found a job.
It is unusual for the jury to grant an award to an entry of just one picture rather than a photo report. In this case it found that sometimes a single image, concerned with a normally sad and tricky mass phenomenon of our times – global migration – has the power to visualize a happy end for a change. (Laudatio by Peter-Matthias Gaede)