Joana Choumali was born in 1974 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, where she lives and works. She studied graphic arts in Casablanca and initially worked as an art director in advertising before pursuing photography. Choumali’s early practice focused on documentary portraits of the people of Africa. Her recent work builds upon the intimacy of her early portraits by incorporating textiles and colorful embroidery directly onto her photographic images. Choumali is the first African winner of the prestigious Prix Pictet, an annual honor for photography and sustainability, which she won for her series Ça Va Aller. The prize culminated in “Hope,” an international traveling exhibition spanning numerous venues, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Daikanyama Hillside Forum, Tokyo, the Mouravieff-Apostol House & Museum, Moscow, as well as venues in Zurich, Shanghai, Dublin, Monaco, and Milan (2019-22). Her work has also been featured in exhibitions worldwide, including the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2021-22); Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, Marrakech (2019-20); Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town (2019); and the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle, Le Havre (2017). In 2017, Choumali was included in the Côte d’Ivoire Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale. She was named the 2020 Robert Gardner Fellow in Photography by the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University and was awarded residencies with Nirox Foundation, Johannesburg (2017) and the IFITRY Residency, Essaouira, Morocco (2016; 2015).