Alinka Echeverria, "Juba, South Sudan, June 2011. Christina Killa, the chief prison officer of Juba Women’s Prison. She fought in the war for 17 years, leaving the harsh conditions of the bush only when she had children", 2011, from the series "Becoming South Sudan", digital  C-print, edition of 3 + 1 AP, 30x30”

Alinka Echeverria, “Juba, South Sudan, June 2011. Christina Killa, the chief prison officer of Juba Women’s Prison. She fought in the war for 17 years, leaving the harsh conditions of the bush only when she had children”, 2011, from the series “Becoming South Sudan”, digital C-print, edition of 3 + 1 AP, 30×30”

Alinka Echeverria

Up until January 9th, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan existed only in the imagination of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement. On that day a long-awaited referendum took place, with nearly 99% of the voting population opting for secession from the North. On July 9th, amidst huge challenges including counterinsurgencies and ongoing violence in contested oil-rich border regions, the Republic of South Sudan came into being, becoming the world’s 193rd nation. My interest was to photograph the birth of a nation, and I was particularly impressed by the women in South Sudan. By law, 25% of every institution in the new government had to be comprised of women, a very significant number in a culture where women are traditionally at the service of men. I learned the resilience and strength of women who had formed an active part of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and who had earned positions of authority at every level of government from ministries to the police force and prison service. In the weeks leading up to Independence, I met former rebel soldiers whose newly worn uniforms and participations in heavily choreographed public parades were visual manifestations of a rebel movement-come-nation that must project the image of a strong, unified country despite uncertainties. Instead of the euphoria of emancipation I was expecting, I found a place and people going through a tumultuous transformation, yet fragility, fear, relentless grit, and determination became the consistent sentiment in each of the characters I photographed.

A graduate of the International Center of Photography and the University of Edinburgh, Alinka Echeverria (Mexico City and London, UK) has exhibited internationally at venues including the 2012 Lima Biennial of Photography (Lima, Peru), the Festival of Light (Buenos Aires, Argentina), the Moscow Photobiennale (Moscow, Russia), the New York Photo Festival (Brooklyn, NY), Flash Forward (Toronto, Canada), Stephen Kasher Gallery (New York City), and the National Portrait Gallery (London, UK), among many others. She is the recipient of awards from the PX3 Prix Pour la Photographie, Magenta Foundation, and American Photo, in addition to being named “International Photographer of the Year” by the 2012 Lucie Awards. Echeverria’s work has also appeared in GEO, Marie Claire, Liberation, Le Monde Magazine, the British Journal of Photography, Visura Magazine, FOAM, and Time Magazine’s Lightbox.

alinkaecheverria.com