Mother and Daughter
from the series Jannah Lies at the Feet of Thy Mother by Haneem Christian © Haneem Christian
Rooted

from the series Rooted by Haneem Christian © Haneem Christian

Mother and Daughter from the series Jannah Lies at the Feet of Thy Mother
Rooted from the series Rooted

Haneem Christian is a visual poet and activist, who was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. They studied Gender Studies and Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Cape Town, which has since informed their body of work. Their photography focuses on representation within the Black and Brown LGBTQIA+ community.

Christian’s entries, entitled Mother and Daughter and Rooted, are photographic works from two separate series that explore queerness and transness in relation to family, race and identity. Mother and Daughter depicts Cheshire Vineyard and Autumn May, who are both trans feminine artists from Cape Town, South Africa. Christian’s photograph explores the relationship between the two, and questions “what it means to be a mother to a child who you have chosen and has chosen you”. Christian commented that this image “is a celebration of the family we choose,” while Rooted “honours the journey of returning to the Self by seeing yourself through the eyes of a loved one”. The portrait, which depicts a figure laying back and gazing straight to camera within a woodland setting “acknowledges and celebrates the multidimensionality and sacred nature of queerness and transness rooted in precolonial knowledge of self”.

The judges felt that Haneem Christian’s portraits were particularly strong and striking while tenderly and poetically conveying complex narratives. The works were particularly praised for giving voices to communities in various cultural contexts, and for the deep trust visible between the sitters and photographer.