LHSA – The International Leica Society is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2020 LHSA Photography Grant in the amount of $5000.
Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen (Caracas, 1988) is a fighter for women’s rights and her weapon is visual storytelling. Mixing rigorous research with intimate stories, she wants to make a positive impact through her projects.
Congratulations to Ana. Her project, Dias Eternos – women’s prison life in Venezuela, is continuing into a new phase in El Salvador.
About her project: “In Venezuela, the Justice system does not work on behalf of the prisoners, specially the women. They have to wait sometimes years to be judged and moving on to trial. Thus, detention centers are acting as a repository for criminals in Venezuela. A detention center should be a place where a detained person waits for a maximum of 45 days for their trial. The procedural delay in the country makes it an unbearable, eternal wait. Many men and women have died inside these centers, which concentrates diseases like tuberculosis or aids. Women live under cramped and deplorable conditions. Water, food and medical attention are not administrated by the authorities. The food comes from their families, that brings it everyday. Improvised and overcrowded facilities with little light and no space for privacy sustain all kinds of women with different problems. From drug abuse to psychological problems. Also underaged and pregnant women live inside those spaces. Their families and children have to pay for visitation to the corrupt guards. Although some women are abandoned once they are detained, they do not starve, other inmates share food with them. Inside these facilities these women form alliances or become friends to endure the conditions brought upon them. How does these women return to society upon their release? After such an experience, these women will not come out being a reformed person. It is also one of the roots causes of the Venezuelan contemporary crisis. It is important to change the justice system in Venezuela because it is a problem that affects thousands of women and their families. With the LHSA grant, I will be able to carry out this work in El Salvador. Preventive detention centers are a reflection of the nightmare of the overflow of the prison system in El Salvador. The causes of imprisonment are not limited solely to organized crime or gang membership. The strict law that criminalizes abortion convicts women to more than 30 years in prison.”