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Filipino visual artist, journalist among the finalists for this year’s Pulitzer Prize

The Pulitzer Prize is one of the most prestigious awards that can be given to a distinguished work. It is awarded by Columbia University to acknowledge achievements in journalism, literature, and public service, among others.

In 2024, the Philippine flag was raised proudly by visual artist Ren Galeno and journalist Nicole Dunga.

Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Illustrated Reporting and Commentary, “Searching For Maura (Paghahanap Kay Maura)” is a collaborative project by Galeno, Dunga, and Claire Healy. Through comic art, the graphic novel entry depicts events that transpired in 1904, recounting the horrific injustice inflicted upon a Filipina who was slated to be exhibited at the World’s Fair in St. Louis. According to available records, some of her remains were collected by a Smithsonian anthropologist.


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At the end of the novel, it was said that after “Searching For Maura” got published, the secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie G. Bunch III acknowledged the inappropriate way their institution had collected human remains. 255 brains are left in their museum storage called “racial brain collection,” but they are determined to return as many as they can.

Their creation was praised by the committee for its “masterful and sensitive use of the comic form.”

They may not have won the category, but these Filipinas were able to show their skills and create an impact in the field of journalism.

Galeno graduated from the University of the Philippines Diliman. Her hometown is in Davao City, and many of the locals were delighted that her talent was recognized internationally. Meanwhile, Dunga spearheaded the Asian American Journalists Association and works for the Washington Post in its investigative unit.

On May 6, the winners have been revealed. David Hoffman clinched the Pulitzer Prize for ‘Editorial Writing’ for the seven-part series ‘Annals of Autocracy,’ which highlights the autocrats. For Commentary, Vladimir Kara-Murza won as judges acknowledged his insightful columns about criticizing Ukraine where he was imprisoned, for 25 years.

As of now, only two Filipinos have received Pulitzer Prizes: Journalist Manny Mogato, who was awarded in 2018, and the late diplomat Carlos P. Romulo, who was a recipient of the honor in 1942.

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