The project “Don't look down on me” is a photo exhibition against discrimination of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities who live in Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, and Montenegro. The exhibition will take place in each country.
The 40 pictures contain only human faces, looking straight at the camera, while the camera is standing in a higher position from them. They are photographed near the places where they live every day, at their work, street etc. Their living condition, profession and social status is portrayed not only through their faces but indirectly through the small objects in their background where we meet them. People from different socio-economic backgrounds, both genders and different ages are photographed. Politicians, beggars, musicians, teachers, men, women, children, young and older people are protagonists of the exhibition.
The idea is to portray how RAE are treated by other ethnicities in the above mentioned countries, how 'white' people look down on them despite their socio-economic status.
“You have to thank God every single day that your skin is white.” - my friend told me once. When I asked him why? He said because for simple things that you can do everyday without even thinking I have to struggle just for the fact that my skin is dark. I cannot work everywhere I want, I cannot live everywhere I want, I cannot eat in every place I want, I cannot sit in a classroom where I want. Just for the fact that I am “Black”.
Working between New York and Kosovo I thought I could do something about it. Through my work I could somehow do something small and maybe at least change one person's prejudice about people with dark skin. One by one maybe one day we get to understand we are all the same.
It was important for me to show these people working, eating, studying and playing, using their portraits and their eyes to show all they have to say to you who see them as different. Just because they belong to Roma, Ashkali or Egyptian community does not make them any less than you.
Enjoy and think about it!
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“Don't look down on me” is a project that Artan Korenica started working few years ago and it finally started being executed in December 2011 when Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, Kosovo Foundation for Open Society and Open Society Foundations – With contribution of the Arts and Culture Program of Budapest supported the project.
In almost 12 months of photographing the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia and Monte Negro he achieved to capture all the stories he wanted to tell through these pictures. The book contains of the exhibition pictures which are the portraits, and documentary pictures showing the living conditions of the people in the picture.
The exhibition is currently traveling to different countries, supported by British Council in Kosovo, Norwegian Embassy, Kosovo Foreign Affairs Ministry and Ministry of Culture of Kosovo.
It opened very successfully in Bucharest, Rumani in January 2013, currently its opened in Thessaloniki, Greece. Therefore we intend to bring it to Madrid, Spain, Zurich, Switzerland, New York, USA, Paris, France, etc.
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