I’m delighted to share thrilling news that two of my images have been shortlisted for Britain’s most prestigious photography event.
Here follows, text for the UK press release…
Stephen Iliffe’s two portraits of a six-year old deaf child asylum seeker have caught the attention of an elite panel of judges for A Portrait of Britain 2018.
A Portrait of Britain 2018 is the third annual event run by the British Journal of Photography. As a shortlisted entrant, Stephen’s photos will also feature in a globally-distributed book (with an intro by acclaimed novelist Will Self) published by Hoxton Mini Press, an award-winning independent publisher.
“I’m thrilled to be included in Portrait of Britain 2018,” says Stephen. “My images highlight the plight of deaf child refugees. It’s traumatic for any child to flee their homeland and seek asylum in a distant country with an unfamiliar culture and language. For deaf children, it’s a double whammy as they can lack access to appropriate support.”
“For me the photograph of Lawand – and his brother Rawa – is symbolic,” adds Stephen. “Living in barely-furnished temporary accommodation in Derby, the kids use their imagination to pass the time. As Lawand climbs up his bedroom walls to touch the ceiling, it metaphorically suggests his family’s desperate desire to be granted asylum in Britain now they have a tentative foothold here.”
Stephen was commissioned by the Audiovisability project to help raise awareness of six-year old deaf boy Lawand Hamadamin’s case.
After a traumatic journey from northern Iraq to UK, Lawand was supported by Deaf Kidz International and referred to Derby’s Royal School for Deaf Children where he learnt to communicate via sign language.
Despite his dramatic progress at Derby School, the UK government planned last year to summarily deport Lawand and his family without even formally considering their asylum request.
Following a public outcry and a campaign supported by Audiovisability, a High Court judge upheld an appeal by Lawand’s family to remain in the UK for the time being to allow their asylum request to be properly considered.
The boys’ uncertain future and their longing to find a new home that will accept them is also captured in a second image as they gaze out of their window looking across the Derby back streets.
The judging panel includes key industry leaders Caroline Hunter, Picture Editor of The Guardian Weekend Magazine; Olivia Arthur, Magnum Photographer; Martin Usborne, Co-Founder of Hoxton Mini Press; and Simon Bainbridge, Editor at British Journal of Photography.
The final winners for Portrait of Britain 2018 will be announced in August.
The Audiovisability project gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Arts Council England and Decibels.
Stephen is available for interviews or quotes via: Stiliffe@aol.com or 07535 79631 (text messages only)
Lawand’s full story I have a dream…
Stephen Iliffe www.stepheniliffe.com
Deaf Kidz International: www.deafkidzinternational.org
Copies of Portrait of Britain 2018 book can be pre-ordered via: www.thebjpshop.com