Solo artist 2020

Ilvy Njiokiktjien

Born Free

Ilvy Njiokiktjien has worked in many parts of the world, with a focus on Africa. During her work in South Africa in 2007, she became intrigued by the born-frees, the first generation born after the end of apartheid. The result is the project ‘BORN FREE – Mandela’s Generation of Hope’ with which she participated in the 2020 Festival Centre. Njiokiktjien portrays the children in her own, personal and intimate style, and in general her projects builds upon the themes of the National Youth Policy, a vision for improving the lives of youths, that was drafted during Mandela’s presidency. Groups that the policy draws special attention to – like young women, unemployed men, rural youth or people with HIV/Aids – are all included in her work up to now. Nijokiktjien says that “Equality is there on paper, but a majority of young people believe white South Africans still have better chances, as the legacy of centuries of inequality is still there.”

Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Der Spiegel, NRC Handelsblad, Telegraph Magazine and Stern, among others, and was exhibited at Visa pour l’Image in 2012. Accolades include a Canon AFJ Award, two awards at World Press Photo and first prize in POYi’s Issue Reporting Multimedia Story.


Ilvy Njiokiktjien (b. 1984) is an independent photographer and multimedia journalist based in the Netherlands, represented by VII Photo Agency and is a Canon Ambassador. As a documentary photographer, she covers current affairs and contemporary social issues.