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We team up with Rankin to create [Extra]Ordinary Portraits

We worked with the British photographer, publisher and film director Rankin for the [Extra]Ordinary Portraits competition in advance of Holocaust Memorial Day 2023. Rankin’s [Extra]Ordinary Portraits focusses the photographer’s lens on ordinary people who survived genocide.

We team up with Rankin to create [Extra]Ordinary Portraits

Image: Rankin’s portrait of Amouna Adam, a survivor of the genocide in Darfur


British photographer, publisher and film director Rankin has made five images; four of men and women who survived genocides, and one of the teddy bear who accompanied a boy called John through the Budapest ghetto and beyond.

The competition invites young artists from across the UK to take inspiration from Rankin’s work, learn about someone affected by the Holocaust, genocide or identity-based persecution and create a portrait of them which reveals the ‘extraordinary elements of seemingly ordinary people’.

Rankin said:

Working with Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is always an incredible honour, it’s an ongoing relationship and one that I hope continues long into the future. To meet with survivors and to be entrusted with capturing their stories is more than just a project – it’s a privilege. Collaboration is the key to everything I do, so when each survivor steps onto set I work with them to ensure we do their story justice. I learn so much from every survivor’s story, their ability to take what has happened to them and turn it into something positive is nothing less than inspirational.

Our Chief Executive, Oliva Marks-Woldman OBE said:

We are so pleased that Rankin was able to get involved with this competition. The pictures he has taken are hugely powerful statements that shed light on their subjects’ histories and characters. This year’s theme for Holocaust Memorial Day is Ordinary People. The people featured here were ordinary but these pictures show how extraordinary their lives really are.

The survivors photographed by Rankin are:

  • Amouna Adam who escaped from Darfur in 2009 and is now an activist, sharing her story and campaigning for justice.
  • Sokphal Din BEM whose life was turned upside down when the Khmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia in 1975. He survived the genocide by escaping to refugee camps before coming to the UK.
  • John Hajdu MBE was forced into the Budapest Ghetto as a 7-year-old, taking his teddy bear with him. He survived Nazi occupation, lived through the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and escaped to a new life in London.
  • Antoinette Mutabazi was just 11 years old when she survived the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. She hid from the killers who had brutally murdered most of her family and survived a massacre in a church. Antoinette now educates (mostly) young people about the dangers of prejudice and intolerance.

View the portraits, and see what Rankin had to say about each of his subjects, below.

View portraits

The competition, which is being run in partnership with the Royal Drawing School, is open to anyone in the UK aged 25 and under. Entries must be received by 5 December 2022 and can be submitted using a range of visual art forms including photography, drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, graphic design or typography.

Find out more about the competition below.

[Extra]Ordinary Portraits competition

[Extra]Ordinary Portraits

[Extra]Ordinary Portraits

Our competition invites young people to create a portrait of someone affected by genocide or identity-based persecution, which reveals the ‘extraordinary elements of seemingly ordinary people’.

Enter our competition
Rankin's Portraits

Rankin's Portraits

See the five [Extra]Ordinary Portraits that Rankin created for our competition and see what he said about working with each of his subjects.

See portraits
Competition judging panel

Competition judging panel

Rankin is one of the prestigious judges for the [Extra]Ordinary Portraits competition. He will be joined by other experts in the field, each bringing their own insights to the panel.

Learn more