Young Storytellers and their community
The collective exhibition #Inspiring 1080 in Molenbeek (Brussels) is still going on at the House of Cultures and Social Cohesion. And the title says it all. It is actually inspiring visitors that are looking at location and people of their community in a totally new, different and creative way.
The famous canal, the Karreveld castle, the Place Communale, the Mima, the Maison des Cultures, the funerary gallery of the communal cemetery ... some emblematic places in the municipality of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean.... Some well known, some less obvious, some conceptual ones and other totally unpredictable (a kitchen!). But all vibrant with emotions captured in the images.
And the characters portrayed... A young world boxing champion, a professional footballer, a soul musician, two young lovers, etc.
The young storytellers (trained by S4C friend Zakaria El Bakkali, the artistic collaboration of Merel T'Hart and Guillaume Vandenbergh and S4C support) are Ahsan Ahmed SIDDIQUI, Asmae MALHA, Eslem AKDAG, Housna MALHA, Mariya Mirabella IHNAT, Rachida SOUFIANE, Yasmine AJJI, Yassine HAYANI.
These teenagers live all in Molenbeek and took up our challenge: to portray inspiring persons of their community to tell positive stories of places otherwise wrongly depicted by mainstream media.
The project has been sponsored by AT&T with the aim of empowering young talents with the right creative tools to become storytellers of positive stories of change.
From the young football player portrayed in a kitchen (as a symbol of all those young girls that want to grow up knowing they can achieve whatever they dream, without being confined in stereotypes) to a classical dancer portrayed in the main square of Molenbeek that has hit the media for weeks after last year terror attacks.
We engaged those young storytellers in the making with long conversations about some classic photographers, some of our heroes and some of the most compelling and historic collective storytelling (like the one of the Farm Security Administration photo storytelling of rural America between 1939 and 1944): Gordon Parks, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Margaret Bourke White, all those who keep inspiring us....
It's clear they understood their lesson. They understood that Photography (at least they way S4C interprets it) is about letting yourself be involved by what happens to the People, to a community. It's about keeping the eyes open and looking for small great stories that - maybe - you always had in front of your eyes but never tried to tell.
Photography is very important to me because with that I can send a msg to the world; a positive message like we did with our exposition about Molenbeek. After the negative impact on medias we decided to show the positive image of Molenbeek via an exposition about our own community (Zara Bhatti).
We love this project, we love this exhibition (that was also possibile thanks to the great work of the local municipality) and we can't wait to see and read the other stories in the pipeline.
This is what happens when you inspire young talents. And this is the inspiration we get from them.