Filipino photographer’s work opens Oslo Nobel exhibition

Hannah Reyes Morales and Nana Heitmann from Russia were commissioned to produce photographic essays in response to the Nobel Prize winners’ fight for freedom of expression

OSLO, Norway – The 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winners Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov officially opened the Nobel Peace Prize Exhibition on December 11, a day after the two journalists received their medals.

The year-long exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center is intended to show “how journalists uncover abuse of power and disinformation in a world where truth, trust and democracy are under attack.” Two photographers, Hannah Reyes Morales from the Philippines and Nanna Heitmann from Russia, were commissioned to produce photographic essays in response to the winners’ “fight for freedom of expression”.

Morales’ series, titled “In the Shadow of False Light”, was “deeply personal” for the acclaimed photographer. “I would be on a mission, I would have witnessed murders, human rights abuses,” Morales said at the opening of the exhibition in Oslo. “I would come home, open my computer and see my own relatives disbelieving what we journalists saw in the field. “

An excerpt from the exhibition text, by Nicola Sebastian, provides the following context for Morales’s series:

“A kid in a Manila slum inserts a one-peso coin into a vending machine for five minutes of wi-fi. A TikTok content moderator works from home, scrolling through thousands of posts for violations. His family sees the pornography, murder videos and hate speech he needs to report. A digital creative living paycheck in paycheck accepts a gig as a troll, part of a politician-led disinformation operation. Fact-checker collects information to refute lies that have gone viral on Facebook. She spends up to two weeks researching an item that took seconds to craft and share.

“Light can darken as much as it illuminates. In the Philippine landscape, limited and uneven internet access creates scattered and isolated islands of meaning, which fail to connect into a cohesive picture.

“The mess here is as mundane as a kid with a toy gun, posing as a hitman killing a drug addict in a neighborhood ravaged by President Duterte’s war on drugs. While Facebook is free for everyone, but less than a third of Filipino children have access to the Internet for their online lessons, why is the emergence of disinformation surprising? “

The digital exhibit is available here. Video by Patricia Evangelista. Photos from the exhibition courtesy of Hannah Reyes Morales, Nanna Heitmann and Jon Terje Hellgren Hansen of the Nobel Peace Center. –

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