Annick Donkers
BELGIUM
Annick Donkers is a documentary photographer from Antwerp, Belgium. After obtaining a master’s degree in Psychology, she decided to specialize in photography. She has received a grant from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2008 and was selected to participate in the 2008 Seminar on Contemporary Photography at the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City. Her work has been exhibited and published internationally. She was one of the winners at the Survival International Competition (2015), won an award at the San José Photo Festival in Uruguay (2016), at the Sony Awards in UK (2016), the MIFA awards in Russia (2016), the IPA awards in USA (2016), the TIFA awards in Tokyo (2016). She received an honorable mention at the Px3 Prix de la Photo in Paris (2016), was selected at Latin American Photography vol.5/vol.6 in New York (2016 + 2017) and for the cover of Dodho magazine in Spain (2016). She was on the Shortlist for the Kolga Awards in Tbilisi, Georgia, and Athens Photofestival in Greece (2017), received the Premio Pedro Meyer at the Contest for Contemporary Photography in Mexico (2017), an honorable mention at ND Awards and Chromatic Awards (2017), and was the winner of the 2017 Color Prize of Dodho Magazine in Spain. She currently lives and works as a freelance photographer in Mexico City.
Afromexican Healers
I went to visit the coastal region of Guerrero known as Costa Chica, located to the south of Acapulco in Mexico. This region is home to Mexicans descended from African slaves that identify themselves as being “black”. But outside this region they are little-known and they are currently fighting to be officially recognized by the Mexican State. Costa Chica is also a place rooted in traditional beliefs that include appearances of trolls, the devil and spirit animals. The legend tells that when a baby is born, a member of the family brings the child to a crossroads up in the mountains where lots of wild animals pass by. The first creature to approach the child will be the child’s spirit animal, or tono in Spanish, since there is now a dependency created between child and animal. This means that when the animal is hurt, wounded, or dies, the person is too. In the Afromexican communities there are healers that will cure these “animal”-related illnesses, since conventional medicine will not work in these cases. The person is cured with herbs selected by the healers and also according to the needs of the animal. They call these healers Curanderos del tono and there are only a small number of them left. I went to the Costa Chica region in an attempt to capture what remains of their tradition.

The Addis Foto Fest (AFF) was established in 2010 by award-winning photographer and cultural entrepreneur, Aida Muluneh. The festival is organized by Desta for Africa Creative Consulting PLC. AFF is a biennial international photography festival held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It has previously featured exhibitions, portfolio reviews, conferences, projections and film screenings in many different renowned venues. It is also the first and only international photography festival in East Africa.