Daniel Castro Garcia is the Winner of the 38th Annual W Eugene Smith Memorial Fund in Humanistic Photography
Daniel Castro Garcia, From the series Foreigner (cropped)
Daniel Castro Garcia, From the series Foreigner: Foreigner: I Peri N'Tera
Enoch, 16, from Eritrea, arrived at the Port of Catania two days prior to this photograph being taken. I found him sat in a bus shelter with two other underage boys, next to an abandoned car park where I had photographed other Eritrean migrants in the summer of 2015. Eritrean migrants regularly refuse to give their fingerprints to Italian authorities upon arrival and prefer to sleep rough until they are sent money to catch buses to northern Italy and cross the border. Usually their hope is to enter the asylum process in France, Germany or Sweden.
East Wing is pleased to announce that artist, Daniel Castro Garcia is the recipient of this year's W Eugene Smith Memorial Fund in Humanistic Photography for his project Foreigner: I Peri N'Tera - a Sicilian colloquialism that translates as "feet on the ground". Selected from a talented group of 12 finalists, Foreigner is the second chapter of Garcia's ongoing project on the migrant / refugee crisis in Europe, focusing on Sicily, Italy and capturing the lives of those who survived the long journey across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea. The project takes a hard look at unemployment, exploitative labor, and the difficult process of receiving documentation in a new land. The Smith Grant will allow Daniel to continue his project with subsequent chapters set to explore the psychological impact of these journeys and the struggle of integrating into new communities throughout Europe.
The annual grant, which was increased to $35,000 US Dollars by the Smith Fund board of directors this year was presented to Daniel during the organisation's 38th annual awards ceremony at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) Theatre in New York City on Wednesday evening, 18 October, 2017.
'Receiving the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Grant in Humanistic Photography presents me with the most humbling and extraordinary achievement in my professional career,' he told attendees at the SVA Theatre. 'This support and infrastructure for my project is invaluable and it will enable the continuation of a project I believe can make a positive contribution to individual lives and a wider audience. I am incredibly grateful and moved to be given this vote of confidence and support and I will endeavour to respect the standards and expectations of both previous recipients and the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund organisation.'
'The judges were struck by Mr. Garcia's humanism which is appropriate for a grant that honours the legacy of W. Eugene Smith,' explained W.M. Hunt, longtime Smith Fund board member and the Chair of this year's adjudication committee. 'The pleasure of judging the Smith Fund is the strength and range of the work submitted. The judges were aware that having 12 finalists would be a bit unwieldy, but they wanted to ask questions and consider each of the proposals for a longer time,' Mr. Hunt continued.
'They are delighted with the selection of Daniel Castro Garcia as the $35,000 Smith Grant Recipient and felt his work was blessed with clarity and wonder.'
Edmund Clark was also honoured at the ceremony receiving a $5,000 Smith Fund Fellowship. Clark's project 'The Unseen Consequences and Networks of Air Strikes and Drone Warfare' is intended as a multi-media investigation of the expanded use of air-strikes and drone weapons as the primary strategy of the on-going American-led War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen
East Wing is proud to represent the work of Daniel Castro Garcia and Edmund Clark.
For more information on other 2017 grant recipients visit the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Website