A personal photographic project that started 2 years ago. The project objective is to find and document the beauty present in some of the most difficult, poverty stricken and dangerous realities around the world.
In this particular case, 2 of the largest and toughest slums in the world: Mathare and Kibera (inside Nairobi). These are places where it is not only difficult to enter, but it is extremely risky to move around and get any kind of documentation.
Places where you come in contact with unimaginable, shocking and sometimes incredible situations, but also where a sense of community and solidarity gives these people the strength to carry on day by day. Places where a quality of life that we would normally consider extremely low is already a luxury, which very few residents can afford. Places where there is little or no running water and where the cumulative sewage of hundreds of thousand of people flows through open ditches.
I am talking about a slow and systematic destruction of the basic human rights and dignity that continued for almost 50 years.
WHERE DOES THE DESIRE TO FIND BEAUTY IN THESE PLACES COME FROM? AND WHY TRY TO FIND IT HERE?
It is born as a critic and personal response to an increased awareness of living within a system that uses drama everywhere. I believe we are now unconsciously accustomed to consider an event interesting and noteworthy only if it contains some form of strong contrast, therefore if it is dramatic. Without drama there is no news and everything becomes boring, dull and not worth of our time. In simple terms we tend to use drama to make sensationalism.
With "Beauty In Hell" I am trying to express, through artistic sensibility and not sensationalism, exactly the opposite and show that also within these extremely hard situations beauty is always present… that the beauty inside the human being is present everywhere, even in places that could only be described as real life circles of Dante's Inferno.
WHERE CAN THIS BEAUTY BE SEEN AND WHAT DOES IT CONSIST OF?
Clearly any form of beauty in these places is not an easy thing to find. First of all we need to feel it inside ourselves, so that we will first be able to see it and then find a way to make people willing to show it. It can be seen in the eyes of the locals, in their daily activities, in the smiles with which they welcome you, but also in the rage and aggressiveness with which they approach you… in a few words in the spontaneity, simplicity and lack of malice with which they act.
Beauty is clearly visible in the sense of community and sharing that our society has nearly lost or perhaps has simply forgotten.
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BEAUTY IN HELL PROJECT:
EXHIBITIONS / PUBLICATIONS
• Exhibition in conjunction with La Biennale di Venezia 2013 – Bangladesh Pavillion
• Presentation/Exhibition at Palazzo Cusani - “Beauty In Hell” Project – Milan 2013
• Witness Journal (N.58) - Official Selection