Mariela Sancari, winner of Descubrimientos PHE Award 2014 for the series Moisés

 PHotoEspaña, across an international jury make up experts in photography, have awarded the Descubrimientos PHE Award 2014 to the photographer Mariela Sancari (Argentina, 1976) for the series Moisés. A work in progress in which the artist metaphorically search for her father, who died in tragic circumstances when she was 14  years old through portraits of men of similar age and physical appearance to her father.

«Thanatology asserts that not seeing the dead body of our beloved ones, prevents us from accepting their death. Contemplating the body of the deceased helps us overcome one of the most complex stages of grief: denial. My twin sister and I were not allowed to see the dead body of our father. I never knew if that was because he committed suicide or because of Jewish religious beliefs or both.Not seeing him has made us doubt his death in many ways. The feeling that everything was a nightmare and the fantasy we both have that we are going to find him walking in the street or sitting in a cafe has accompanied us all these years», explains Sancari.

In 2013, with a grant from the Mexican government (FONCA-CONACYT), Mariela returned to her native district in Buenos Aires to start a project marked by the absence of a father figure. The starting point was an ‘Wanted’ ad with a photo of her father printed requesting the participation of men between 68 and 72 years with his father-like appearance. She published it in the press, hung it throughout the city and also she set up her photographic studio in a square in which she played as a child kicking off this series metaphorically searching for her father Moisés Sancari.

«I once read that fiction´s primary task is to favor evolution, forcing us to acknowledge and become the otherness around us. I think fiction can help us depict the endless reservoir of the unconscious, allowing us to represent our desires and fantasies», Sancari says.

This portfolio was presented to the viewing of DescubrimientosPHE held at the Centro de Arte Alcobendas Madrid on June 3, 4 and 5 2014 The jury Christin Ann Bertrand, curator of photography of C / O Berlin.; Raphaelle Stopin, artistic director of Hyères Festival (France), and Greg Hobson, director of the National Media Museum in Bradford, have chosen the winner from all works presented  in the portfolios reviews in Madrid, Caracas and Sao Paulo.

About the artist

Mariela Sancari (Buenos Aires, 1976) lives and works in Mexico City since 1997. Her work revolves around identity and memory and the way both are mingled and affected by each other, time and space. She examines personal relations related to memory and the thin and elusive line dividing memories and fiction.

She has received numerous awards for her work: she was named one of the Discoveries of the Meeting Place of FotoFest and will be part of the group exhibition in FotoFest 2014 Biennial, Houston, United States. Winner of the VI Bienal Nacional de Artes Visuales Yucatan 2013, recently named one of PDN’s 30: New and Emerging Photographers to Watch, she received an Honorable Mention in the Official Selection Artemergente National Monterrey Biennale 2012 with her series The two headed horse. She was also a finalist for the scholarship Roberto Villagraz 2012 and 2013 for the Master of Photography EFTI, Madrid, Spain, and winner of the 3rd. National Photography Competition La Membrana.

She was a finalist for the 2012 and 2013 APA Scholarship awarded by Lucie Foundation in Los Angeles, California. She received an Honorable Mention in the contest for Contemporary Photography in Mexico of the Mexican Foundation for Film and Arts of Coahuila and in the 32nd. Photography Contest Photographer’s Forum. She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Mexico City, Madrid, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Guatemala City, New York, Sao Paulo, Caracas, Fort Collins, Houston and Cork, Ireland. She works as a freelance photographer for magazines such as Mexico DesconocidoAireGatopardo and Life&Style.