An image of two Fulani women patiently queueing to register to vote in Nigeria’s 2015 historic elections received top honors in the International Foundation for Electoral Systems’ (IFES) 2015 Photography Contest. In Kwara state, where the photo was taken, people of Fulani ethnicity are a minority among the much larger Yoruba and Hausa groups.
IFES selected six photographs of elections and other civic activities as finalists in the democracy-themed 2015 contest. More than 100 images were entered in the competition, which was open to all levels of photographers and accepted submissions that captured the essence of IFES’ core areas of work: electoral integrity, participation and inclusion, accountability, and women’s empowerment.
Nena Lukin won both the Grand Prize, selected by a panel of professional photographers, and the IFES Choice Award, selected by IFES staff, with the photograph “Fulani Women Queuing,” which depicts two generations of Fulani women waiting in line to cast their ballots.
"I am deeply honored to be the Grand Prize winner of the IFES 2015 Photography Contest. For years I have been finding inspiration in photographing disadvantaged, marginalized and vulnerable groups, raising awareness of their existence and trying to re-establish their place in society,” said Lukin. “The fact that this particular photo won the prize is a great recognition of these endeavors. I was particularly attracted to these Fulani women standing with such a peaceful dignity enabling me to capture two generations of minority women participating in the elections. I am grateful for their trust and thankful for IFES’ acknowledgment of my work."