Photographer Shahidul Alam has withdrawn his work and participation from the showing of the Prix Pictet touring exhibition 'Hope' in Israel to show support to Palestinians.
His withdrawal is in solidarity with the Palestinian people and informed by the BDS movement resisting the Israeli government's settler-occupation and apartheid policies.
The show is due to open at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv of Israel on 30 June 2021, reads a press release.
Globally recognised journalist Alam is the only Bangladeshi to have been featured as a Time Magazine Person of the Year (2018).
Citing his reasons for withdrawal, he said, "I am Bangladeshi. In 1971, we lived under occupation in East Pakistan. Members of my family died resisting the occupation, as did friends.
"The Pakistan army's denial of the genocide of our people relied on cultural events to demonstrate 'normality'. The boycott of Pakistan, and the global support for our armed struggle, gave us hope and led to our independence," he added.
"My work in this exhibition is about a woman, Hazera Begum, who provides hope for children who would otherwise have little to hope for. Many children were killed during the recent Israeli aggression," said Alam.
"Many more have died over the years since Naqba. Israeli children have died too. With hope dying for the Palestinian children who have survived, my participation would be an insult to those under the brutal Israeli apartheid regime and to those campaigning for their freedom."
Alam claimed him participating in this "would be a betrayal not only of Palestinian aspirations for freedom but the human longing for freedom and independence everywhere."
Alam was one of the finalists in the 2019 contest with his work Still She Smiles, which was launched at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Another South African Photographer named Gideon Mendel who is also Jewish has withdrawn his work from the exhibition too for the same reason.
"As both a South African with this generational history and as a Jewish photographer currently developing a body of work exploring the impacts of the Holocaust on my family, I cannot ignore what is at stake," said Mendel.
"At this inflamed moment, so soon after the horrifying, asymmetric casualties and damage inflicted on Gaza, where a population comprised mostly of Palestinian refugees from Israel's creation remains under long term Israeli blockade that has made civilian life barely tolerable, I am struck by the irony of being part of a show entitled Hope," he added.
"For me, it would be a moral failure to proceed with this show as if I were unaware of these 'inconvenient' truths, and to ignore the calls for solidarity from Palestinian civil society to people of conscience around the world, " said Mendel
The Prix Pictet (Pictet prize) is an international award in photography. It was founded in 2008 by the Geneva-based Pictet Group with the mandate to use the power of photography to communicate messages about sustainability to a global audience.