Jannatul Mawa turned to professional photography after years of working as a social activist. Politically active since her student days and a keen advocate for the rights of women, stories she has covered range from her daughter growing up in urban Dhaka, to young Maoists in Nepal.
A documentary photographer who believes in the medium’s potential to combat exploitation and discrimination, her work on gender and women’s rights has been showcased around the world. An exhibition on ‘The power of woman’ was shown at Emory University, in USA, and she also participated in the exhibition, ‘Nari- Women’, at Drik Gallery, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
In 2009, she received the 6th Daily Star award in the Celebrating Womanhood Contest, and a UNICEF award under ‘Feature 2000 on women and Children’s rights’.
Her professional photography career began with UNICEF, and her real life stories have been published in national dailies in Bangladesh, including The New Nation, Daily Star, and Nepalese publication, Weekly Republica. Her work ‘Finding Neverland’ has also been published in the book ‘Under The Banyan Tree’ on the eve of 12 years’ celebration of Pathshala. Her work entitled, ‘Close Distance’ exhibited in the Dhaka Art Summit 2012.
After completing an MA in Bengali Literature, Mawa worked in administrative roles for several organizations and managing development programswith NGOs. She then served national dailies as a sub-editor, before enrolling for a BA in photojournalism at Pathshala, where she is now a final year student. At Pathshala, she has taken part of collaborative programs with Oslo University College, Norway, and photo Circle in Nepal, as well as workshops run by Phillip Blenkinshop of agency Noor. Here she also had the opportunity to learn from world-famous respectable photographers and eminent professionals such as Abir Abudulla, Munem Wasif, Sohrab Hura, Laurence Leblanc, Tom ‘O’Mara, Robert Pledge, Raghu Rai, and Shahidul Alam.