Message from the Banks Family

January 2023

The Sam Banks Memorial Fund 2020-2022

First of all we would like to thank you for past and present support for the Sam Banks Memorial Fund.  We thought we should keep you informed about how the fund has been doing since covid struck.  Its immediate impact back in the spring of 2020 was to require the cancellation of the big music event we had planned in Clapham that May.  This denied us an important source of fundraising and it was hard to see how we could replace it, since people could not gather together.

Then Louise had the idea of putting musical clips from past memorial events on Facebook and donations started coming in.  Meanwhile Graham had been forced to practice music with John Welton out of doors since neither was allowed in the other’s house.  The duo was soon joined by Bruce Ellis, Warwick Downes and Alice Henderson and Louise started filming clips of them all playing together and putting those on Facebook too.  They also started collecting from neighbours and passers-by.  When it came to make the annual payment to Pathshala all this music had raised £1,143 and a further £171 came from playing carols at Christmas.

Our annual commitment to Pathshala is £5,500 and for the first time in ten years we were well short and had to dip into savings to fulfil our pledge.  We realised we could not go on doing that and began to worry that we might have to terminate the fund.  Our original commitment, made in 2011, had been to guarantee funding up to 2021.  Then Louise, who had started regular swimming in the Exe estuary that October, came up with the inspired idea of a sponsored swim.  She swam every day in February 2021 – even when the cliff was festooned with icicles – aiming to average a quarter of a mile a day and complete seven miles over the month.  (In fact she swam eight and a half.)  The response to this astonished us.  She raised £5,680 and the future of the fund was, for the time being, secured.

Since then our most significant fundraising has come from a calendar of stunning pictures by Lympstone photographer, Harley Jaffer.  Harley, another wild swimmer, came up with the idea of a local, water-themed calendar to sell at £20 and generously paid for the initial print run of 25.  Those sold out quickly and we had more printed.  Sixty-eight were sold and the fund gained £930.

During 2022 Louise’s cards and prints raised £396 and she auctioned a painting online for a further £350.  Jan and Rupert Grey showed their film Romantic Road in Stedham Village Hall, West Sussex and raised £240.  As always, we have been supported by regular donors whose loyalty we greatly appreciate.  Standing orders raised £406.

We just reached our target thanks to the surplus from the previous year’s sponsored swim so in 2023 we will need to find another big fund-raising idea.

Since the fund started in 2010 we have handed over a total of £62,300 to Pathshala.

Update on the students;

Since Sam’s death in 2010, the fund has helped to support a total of 40 low income students studying photo journalism at Pathshala South Asia Media Institute in Dhaka. We receive regular updates on their progress along with photography project, work from the institute. To give just a few recent examples of achievements (too many to mention here, after 12 years of student support):

Sumi Khatun – (Anjuman)

Shortlisted for 2020 Women Photographers Grant by PHmuseum.

2020 selected as Ones to Watch by the British Journal of Photography, and one of the Top Photgraphy Graduates to Watch at PHmuseum.

Paris Photo digital masterclass 2022 (one of 4 new talents)

Interviewed on Artists Talks Carte Blanche Etudients 2022 by the director of Picto Foundation and Paris Photo , Vincent Marcilhay

2021 She was selected to show in The Makeable Mind, at the Noorderlicht International Photo Festival.

Soumya Sanker Bose – has gone on to be awarded the prestigious Magnum Foundation and Henry Luce Foundation’s Migration and Religion grant along with a run of exhibitions in New York, Texas, Kathmandu , Kolkatar and Nepal.

Homayra Adiba was a recipient of ‘Equity Grant Winner’ Art prize 2021.

Md. Fazla Rabbi was selected as the British Journal of Photography Ones to Watch 2021 and also awarded a Creation Grant at the Anghor Photo Festival.

Arafat Bin Siraji has been selected to show next year at the 8th Lumix Festival of Visual Journalism for young photographers.

Many of our students have documented the plight of marginalised communities in Bangladesh and around the world. Walid Saddam documented the Rohingya refugee crisis, Abhijit Shuvo photographed the forgotten veterans of the Bangladesh War of Independence, Shadman Chowdhury has photographed the indigenous Santal community who are being evicted from their farm land and homes by the Bangladesh government and sugar mill authorities, Istiak Karim was funded by the Australian government to take part in ‘the politics of aid’ project where he documented the impact and effectiveness of aid on a village in Jhor district of Nepal.

Mrittaker Gain focused on Kalabogi village in Khulna district. Through her images she tells the story of the relationship between the people here, especially women, with the changing environment. Jhulantapara, on the banks of Shibsa, is constantly being submerged under extreme tidal conditions.

These are just a few examples of the brave and bold photo-journalism emerging from Pathshala with the support of the Sam Banks Fund.

Photos and posts, along with other fund updates can be found on:

instagram sambanksfund2010

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