Unsung Heroes – giving women a voice
Their names are Rajwa, Sofia, Thérèse, Bettina and Nuruj… Ordinary heroes. Ordinary heroes encountered by Médecins du Monde – Doctors of the World and portrait artist Denis Rouvre.
Inspired by a desire to bear witness to the violence against women, the Unsung Heroes photography project gives a voice to women from all over the world. Some are fleeing conflict zones, others are campaigning against the established social order, some had no choice but to carry on, others have made the decision to take action.
Unsung Heroes means hearing the inaudible: the emotional, physical and institutional violence perpetrated against millions of women. At the same time it is a call from the movements which are driving change. It demonstrates the commitment of ordinary women from all over the world who are fighting for women’s fundamental rights to be respected.
This collection of photographs and testimonies shines a light on acts of resistance, actions both visible and silent, tirelessly pursuing the same goal: to raise awareness, turn the tide in women’s life and re-establish fundamental rights that have been violated.
All 60 portraits and testimonies were produced in 2018 and 2019 and will lead to an exhibition which will immerse the viewer in the lives of the women through their stories, combining photos with written and oral contributions. The project will be on show in France in autumn 2019 before being taken on a world tour in 2020.
Denis Rouvre photographing celebrities since 1992. In recent years, he has turned his attention to anonymous people with ordinary lives and extraordinary destinies, naming them “Heroic Figures”. In 2014, Rouvre presented his series Des Français…Identités, territoires de l’intime (Identities… intimate territories) at the Rencontres d’Arles in France.
Rouvre has received prestigious awards. He was awarded three World Press Photo prizes—for his Sumo series in 2013, for a photograph from the Low Tide series in 2012 and for his Lamb series in 2010—, the Hasselblad Masters Portrait in 2012 and the SONY World Photography Award in 2011 for his After Meeting series.
Rouvre has also published several books: Sortie de match, published by Editions de la Martinière, Lamb and Low Tide – Le Japon du chaos, both published by Somogy Editions d’Art.
Rouvre’s works features in both public and private collections such as Pinacothèque de Paris, Société Générale and Centre Culturel Tjibaou.