“How do we, as photographers, open our lives for exploration and journey towards our inner selves in our most difficult moments as we so often ask of others? And how do we do it with the intention of making things better? Many questions and difficult answers. Social justice is not only a utopian goal of equality, it is also how we embrace the process and how we approach our stories. I hope to be getting closer and closer with care, respect, solidarity, understanding, mutual support, honesty, and compassion.” –Oscar Castillo
We’re sharing some inside looks into the processes and experiences of our 2020 Photography and Social Justice Fellows as their projects near completion. From the persistent undercurrents of trauma in Puerto Rico post-Hurricane María, to the challenges facing formerly incarcerated youth upon re-entry in Venezuela, and from personal explorations of masculinity, family, and identity, and how they intersect with disability, to challenging harmful practices and stigmas around menstruation in Nepal, this diverse, international group of visual storytellers is exploring new approaches to socially engaged documentary practice.
Moderated by Mengwen Cao, this panel discussion will feature:
Aishwarya Arumbakkam (India), Asef Mohammad (Pakistan), Farzana Hossen (Bangladesh), Gabriella Báez Reyes (Puerto Rico), Jon Santiago (U.S.), Nolan Ryan Trowe (U.S.), Oscar Castillo (Venezuela), Shaima Al-Tamimi (Yemen/Qatar), and Uma Bista (Nepal).
Please make sure to also check out corresponding exhibition Frontlines in Focus.
Featuring: Aishwarya Arumbakkam, Asef Mohammad, Farzana Hossen, Gabriella Báez Reyes, Jon Santiago, Nolan Ryan Trowe, Oscar Castillo, Shaima Al-Tamimi, and Uma Bista
Moderated by: Mengwen Cao
Aishwarya Arumbakkam is a photographer and filmmaker from Chennai, India and currently based in Austin, Texas. She is interested in mythology, cultural narratives, and conservation.
Asef Ali Mohammad belongs to the Hazara minority of Afghan/Pakistan region. His work revolves around the on-going targeted killings of his persecuted community.
Farzana Hossen is a photographer based in Bangladesh. Her work centers women in cultural contexts that often leave them in the margins.
Gabriella N. Báez Reyes is a documentary photographer based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She focuses on documenting intimate subjects: her father’s suicide post-Hurricane María, the archives of her exiled Cuban family, and the relationship between sexuality and depression.
Jon Santiago is a photographer based in the Bronx, New York. His work focuses on long term projects that explore questions surrounding environment, power dynamics, and community.
Nolan Ryan Trowe is an artist based in the United States. He is interested in exploring the mystery of what it means to be a human being.
Oscar B. Castillo is a freelance documentary photographer based in France and Venezuela. He is particularly interested in urban subcultures and the impact of violence in his home city of Caracas.
Shaima Al-Tamimi is a Yemeni-Kenyan visual storyteller based in the Gulf Cooperation Council. Through photography, film, and writing, she explores themes relating to the patterns and impact of migration, identity, and culture.
Uma Bista is a photographer from Kathmandu, Nepal. She works on visual narratives on issues of gender inequality, often drawing from her own experiences.
Mengwen Cao is a photographer, multimedia artist, and cultural organizer. They were born and raised in China and currently based in New York. They are the Project Manager at Magnum Foundation, and the Visuals Editor at ChinaFile. As a queer immigrant, they use care and tenderness to explore spaces between race, gender, and cultural identity. As a board member of Authority Collective and a co-founder of Chinese Storytellers, they are fighting to make more space for diverse narratives and perspectives in the media industry.
ABOUT THE PARTNER
The Magnum Foundation is a nonprofit organization that expands creativity and diversity in documentary photography, activating new audiences and ideas through the innovative use of images. Through grantmaking and mentorship, Magnum Foundation supports a global network of social justice and human rights-focused photographers, and experiments with new models for storytelling.
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