Contemporary Andean culture reinterpreting the book, The Little Prince

Photoville’s Emerging Artists to Watch

25 Aug 2020 Brooklyn
Boy with bike in Mott Haven, Bronx
Photo by Roy Baizan

LOCATION: Old Fulton Street and Prospect Street, DUMBO Brooklyn
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PRESENTED BY

Mott Haven is a neighborhood in the South Bronx made up of residential houses, NYCHA Projects, and an industrial waterfront that is ground zero for the gentrification of the Bronx.

Largely made up of Latinx and Black residents with a culture defined by multiple generations, the current population of 52,000 is being challenged today by real estate developers aggressively moving to rebrand the community and displace them. This project documents the people, landscapes, and stories of those who see their neighborhood in transition.

My grandmother had 16 children, 58 grandchildren, 112 great-grandchildren, 158 great-great-grandchildren. She’s 94, and has been in Oakland, California, since 1945. Mama’s Babies takes a look at my family’s migration from sharecropping farms in Louisiana, to Oakland, California.

We developed vast networks of extended family centered on matriarchal figures. I combine my photography, and my grandmother’s archival images, to work against the erasure of our narrative.

Warawar Wawa (Son of the Stars) in the Aymara language, is a re-contextualization of Antoine Saint Exupéry’s book Le Petit Prince for contemporary Andean culture.

The project is realized in the form of a photo-book, which accompanies the first literary translation of the original French text into the Aymara language. In addition to words and photographs, the photo-book also includes new drawings made by the author to present self-reflective narratives, and to bring about the spirit of a children’s book.

The term Chi’xi (gray color) is an essential part of the project because it is considered the starting point. This term, extracted from the Aymara language, alludes to an undetermined color, resulted from two juxtaposed tissues. Contrary to homogeneous ideas regarding collective identities, Warawar Wawa invites us to look at heterogeneous concepts through a fantastic universe located in Bolivian landscapes, valleys, and salt flats.

Iran is suffering from a socio-economic drought, where water demand exceeds the natural water supply. My country is facing a severe and protracted water crisis and desertification, as lakes and rivers once-fertile, become barren.

The Hamoun wetlands, located in the largest Iranian province, Sistan-Balouchestan in southeastern Iran, are transboundary wetlands on the border of Iran-Afghanistan, which used to be the seventh-largest international lagoon, and the largest sweet water lake in Iran. The wetlands have turned to a sea of sand in the recent fifteen years due to drought, climate change, poor water management, prevention of water flow from Afghanistan, and disputes over granting water rights to Iran from Afghanistan.

The Hamoun wetlands that once covered an area of 4,000 square kilometres, and held communities dating back 5000 years, is now an environmental calamity. My project explores the environmental, social, and economic devastation wrought by desertification in the southeast region of Iran, as once fertile lakes and rivers become irreversibly degraded.

Hamoun wetlands desiccation had dire consequences for Sistan and Baluchestan Province, home to 2.8 million people, mostly Sunnis. Many people lack basic access to clean water, food, and education, subsisting on government handouts. With large-scale unemployment, some have turned to smuggling fuel and drugs, and about 30% of the people in Sistan-Balouchestan have migrated to the suburbs of other cities.

My project’s audience is people in and out of my country. Some of them have never thought of a water crisis before, or have never experienced the effects of a water crisis, but for various reasons resist connecting with it. By covering and telling stories, I want to raise awareness of subjects to change public attitudes.

Featuring: Roy Baizan, Adrian Burrell, River Claure, Solmaz Daryani

Curated by: James Estrin

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Roy Baizan is a Chicanx documentary photographer, and arts educator from the Bronx whose work focuses on music, community, and family. Shortly after graduating from the International Center of Photography’s (ICP) Teen Program, he became a teaching assistant. He teaches photography to youth across the city. He has worked for the Bronx Documentary Center, The Point, the Bronx River Art Center, and ICP, to pass on the opportunities that were given to him.

In 2018, he graduated from the Visual Journalism and Documentary Practice Program at the International Center of Photography, with the support of The Wall Street Journal Scholarship, and Board of Directors Scholarship.

Roy’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Gothamist, America Magazine, The Intercept, Remezcla, The Fader, HBO Latino, MOMA PS1, and ATNT.rt & Art history.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Adrian L. Burrell is a multidisciplinary storyteller who uses film, photography, and other media to shape culture, and evoke conversation on issues of race, class, gender, and intergenerational dynamics.

Adrian’s multimedia installation Mama’s Babies explores Black matriarchy in America, and won the 2019 SF Camerawork Juror’s Choice Award, and the SFAI John Collier Award.

Adrian grew up in Oakland, California. He has lived and worked in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Adrian earned a BFA in film from the San Francisco Art Institute, he is a United States Marine Corps veteran, and he is currently working on his MFA at Stanford’s Department of Art & Art history.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

River Claure (b. 1997, Bolivia) is a freelance photographer, designer and visual artist. He graduated with a degree in Performing Arts, Graphic Design, and Visual Communication, and he studied Contemporary Photography at the International Centre of Photography and Cinematography, EFTI, Madrid, Spain.

He was a winner of the Eduardo Abaroa Nacional Award, Bolivia, and received a XVIII Roberto Villagraz International Photography Scholarship, in Spain. River was selected for The New York Times 2020 portfolio review, the Creation Laboratory 20 Fotógrafos Bolivia, and the Valparaíso International Photography Festival (FIFV), Chile.

River was nominated for the World Press Photo 2020 Joop Swart Master Class, and he was recently selected as one of this year’s British Journal of Photography’s Ones to Watch 2020. He is part of the photographers team at Everyday Bolivia and his work has been exhibited in Colombia, Chile, Spain, and Bolivia.

Solmaz Daryani is an Iranian Azeri photographer and photojournalist. Daryani studied computer science in Iran, emerging from school with a BA in software engineering. She studied photojournalism at the Danish School of Media and Journalism. Her work is particularly known for exploring the themes of climate security, climate change, water crisis, the human identity, and the environment.

Her work has been published by international magazines and newspapers such as National Geographic Magazine, Foreign Policy Magazine, Polka Magazine, The American Scholar Magazine, The Caravan Magazine and other publications.

ABOUT THE CURATOR

James Estrin (curator) is a New York Times staff photographer and writer. He was a founder and co-editor of Lens, The New York Times photography blog. Estrin was part of a team that won a 2001 Pulitzer Prize for “How Race Is Lived In America.” He was the co-executive producer of the documentary film “Underfire: The Untold Story of Pfc. Tony Vaccaro” which appeared on HBO in 2016. He is also an adjunct professor at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York.

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