German Peace Prize for Photography | Winner

Emeke Obanor

Effurun / NG



The Boko Haram sect is a terrorist group operating in Nigeria. In addition to several other atrocities committed, they have abducted a number of girls that are both young & old. While in captivity, the abducted girls were made to spend several hours daily in training sessions to radicalize them against western education. Despite the intense radicalization given to the young ladies, many of them still show courage to pursue western education after they regain their freedom.

Some girls gained freedom when they failed to detonate the bombs strapped to their waists, while some gained freedom after military raids in their camps. On returning from captivity, many of the girls were traumatized and stigmatized, there were huddles for the girls and some still had courage to strive regarding western education.

But a group of girls persevered in the face of terror, economic hardship, Islamic extremism, cultural & gender bias to dare to return to school and become educated amid grim realities.


The Artist
Emeke Obanor is a contemporary fine art and documentary photographer. He is driven to photograph because it has the power to make changes, sway emotions, and even possibly change peoples world view. He likes to work on new projects when there is potential to improve humanity, and when projects have received little or no attention, he believes this can give those people a voice. Experienced in art and documentary photography - Emeke Obanor's photography reveals and restores dignity to the photographed subjects, through the explicit aesthetic beauty of his images - Critical thinking, analysis, and strong attention to small details

University of Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria

2020 Edition Finalist of Luis Valtueña International Humanitarian Photography Award
2020 Top 10 Finalist of the Photography 4 Humanity Global Prize Competition
2020 Winner of Michael Reichmann Project Grant
2020 Critical Mass top Photographer
2020 Obbiettivo Solidereta Best Photographic Project
2020 Global Peace Award shortlist.
Unbreakable Nigerian Spirit Award

Jury Statement

With his work ‘Heroes’, the Nigerian photographer Emeke Obanor has succeeded in countering the atrocities of the Boko Haram sect with graceful and clear images. Concentrating on a few pictorial elements, he portrays young women who have the courage to go back to school in the hope of a better and free life.

A globe, colourful pens or a book cover their faces to protect them in their anonymity and at the same time stand as metaphors for openness to the world and departure through education.

Obanor has an extraordinary feeling for sensitive and profound portraits. Through the aesthetic simplicity of his portraits, the legible details in the picture and the background knowledge of the suffering of these girls, a tension builds up in the viewer that makes one think. With this outstanding work, Emeke Obanor shows us not only his hopeful heroines, but also their further path towards a self-determined future in peace.

‘Heroes’ is a strong and impressive photo series that represents the German Peace Prize for Photography in a sore and impressive way.