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“Color is just a word to those who cannot see it.”

Sanne De Wilde uses different photographic materials to metaphorically explore the experience of Achromatopsia, or complete colorblindness in her series “The Island of the Colorblind” now an online exhibition over on the East Wing portal at Artsy

De Wilde’s images were made working with a small community living on a tiny atoll Pingelap and neighbouring island Pohnpei in the South Pacific Ocean. In the late eighteenth century a catastrophic typhoon swept over Pingelap. One of the survivors, the king, carried the rare achromatopsia gene that causes complete colorblindness. The king went on to have many children and as time passed the hereditary condition affected the isolated community and most islanders started seeing the world in black and white.

Achromatopsia is characterized by extreme light sensitivity, poor vision, and the complete inability to distinguish colors. In Micronesia achromats adapt to their reduced level of visual functioning (due to lack of resources like sunglasses and tinted lenses), by using visual strategies such as blinking, squinting, shielding their eyes, or positioning themselves in relation to light sources.Portraying the mythical island and achromotapic islanders, Sanne De Wilde created a conceptual series of images that invites the viewer to enter a dreamfilled world of colorful possibilities. She questions, if the colorblind people could paint with their mind, how would they color the world, the trees, themselves?
Sanne De Wilde (Belgium, 1987) in her photography explores the role genetics play in peoples lives and how this shapes and affects communities. She graduated with a Master in the Fine Arts at KASK in Ghent (BE) with great honours in 2012. Her photo series ‘The Dwarf Empire’ was rewarded with the Photo Academy Award 2012 as well as the International Photography Award Emergentes DST in 2013. Her serie ‘Snow White’ was awarded 16ème Prix National Photographie Ouverte and NuWork Award for Photographic Excellence. She was awarded the Nikon Press Award in 2014 and 2016 for most promising young photographer.
The British Journal of Photography selected De Wilde as one of ‘the best emerging talents from around the world’ in 2014 and received the Firecracker Grant 2016, PHmuseum Women’s Grant and de Zilveren Camera award for ‘The Island of the Colorblind’ and most recently won a World Press Photo for her collaborative project with NOOR Photographer Benedicte Kurzen for “Land of Ibeji” in 2019. She has been internationally published (Guardian, New Yorker, Le Monde, CNN, Vogue) and exhibited (Voies OFF, Tribeca Film Festival, Circulations, Lagos Photo, Lodz Fotofestiwal, IDFA, STAM and EYE).Sanne De Wilde is represented by East Wing | Doha.Since 2017, De Wilde is an active member of the NOOR Agency.