Image by Luke Gray.

In honour of Black History Month (UK) 2016, Zealous held a ‘Celebrating Racial Diversity’ competition, offering individuals a platform to broadcast their thoughts, worries, inspirations and dreams. The global call amplified the voices of those who are too often drowned out, even in creative communities.

A panel of guest judges narrowed down three finalists from a spread of submissions that reveal a unique cross-section of stories, from the African Diaspora in the West and the struggles of minorities within minorities in contemporary society, to the celebration of Sepedi traditions and mixed heritage women in the West Indies.

In a society torn apart by identity politics, Brexit, tumultuous election cycles, wars and crises, it’s never been more important to celebrate diversity and thank the people who make our world so culturally rich. We believe these artists’ passion and talent are exactly what the world needs: a dose of thoughtful, sincere, unique creativity. We’re so excited to share these talented artists with the world…

FIRST PLACE WINNER

Tsoku Maela

South African photographer Tsoku Maela took the winning prize with ‘Barongwa: I am that I am’, a work of self-study and observation. He explains, “Growing up in a Sepedi (Northern Sotho) culture where ancestral worship is still prominent, I shunned the practice for a long time as it sounded like the work of fiction.”

By embracing the presence of my guardians and embracing my creative journey”, Maela explains, he has been able to interpret his purpose through spirituality and Sepedi tradition.

Check out Tsoku’s feature interview here.

Celebrate Diversity
Celebrate Diversity

SECOND PLACE

Isaac Kariuki

Isaac Kariuki took second place with his submission, ‘Hole in the Wall’, a series of portraits exploring the oft-forgotten group of people of colour belonging to the LGBTQ community. “By photographing and celebrating them, I hope to give them the respect and honest portrayals they deserve as individuals”, says the London-based photographer.

THIRD PLACE

Luke Gray

Luke Gray’s, ‘Complex Complexions’ (created with soy sauce, green tea and black coffee) examines at the complexities of tones and structure in the human face. His piece highlights the subtle similarities in the facial tones of those he encountered during a four-year journey around Asia, Africa and Europe.

Celebrate Diversity

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Any creative talent, anywhere in the world