German-Ghanaian photographer, Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah, was announced as the winner of the inaugural Louis Roederer Photography Prize for Sustainability for her photo series called ‘Behind the Ocean‘ focusing on shifts in the marine ecosystem triggered by climate change.
Louis Roederer Photography Prize for Sustainability was established in 2022 to support emerging photographers while highlighting sustainability and environmental issues.
This year the theme was set as “terroir” and an independent panel of six judges in London selected a shortlist of six artists: Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah, Elizabeth Bick, Sian Davey, Chloe Dewe Mathews, Jasper Goodall, Sahab Zaribaf before eventually naming Adu-Sanyah as the winner.
The award ceremony was hosted at Nobu Hotel Portman Square during Photo London. Frédéric Rouzaud, President of the Louis Roederer Foundation, awarded Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah for her series entitled ‘Behold the Ocean’ that explores the circumstances of climate research in southernmost Patagonia. With this award, she will receive £5,000 to continue funding this project.
A German-Ghanaian visual artist and documentary photographer based in Zürich, Switzerland, Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah accompanied two oceanographers in 2020 amid the pandemic as they researched ocean acidification for this project.
Ocean acidification is a phenomenon caused by global warming. Its negative effects are significant; toxic microalgae thrives and endangers the marine ecosystem.
“Ocean acidification is an issue that affects all of us, whether or not we live by the water. The oceans provide two thirds of the oxygen we breathe and are a major driver of our weather and climate; they are also home to 90% of the habitable space on the planet, yet remain both mysterious to, and abused by, humans. Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah’s works cast light on the state of the oceans while being memorable artworks in themselves,” commented Frédéric Rouzaud.
Champagne Louis Roederer itself is passionately committed to sustainability, and for more than 20 years, they have been engaged in ‘renaissance viticulture’ using practices that respect the living environment to allow the nuances of the Champagne terroir to be fully expressed.
These practices, inspired by the permaculture model, allow the ecosystem to self-regulate. These include the use of biodynamic composts, allowing the land to lie fallow for long periods, maintaining hedgerows and low stone walls, growing fruit trees and installing beehives.
The competition’s judging panel consists of Maryam Eisler, Photographer, collector and Tate International Council Member; Brandei Estes, Director, Specialist, Head of Photographs Department, Sotheby’s London; Azu Nwagbogu, Founder and Director of African Artists’ Foundation (AAF), Founder and Director of LagosPhoto Festival; Carrie Scott, Founder of Carrie-Scott Agency; Maria Sukkar, Collector and part of the International Council at Tate and member of Middle Eastern Acquisitions Committee and their Photography Acquisitions Committee; Darius Sanai – Editor-in-Chief, LUX Media Group; partner, Quartet Consulting, President of the Jury.