Started in Paris in 2016, this photo workshop project is aimed at people who are living in exile. Some of the participants are from the Parisian camps, as they have just arrived in France or wish to continue the journey. For them, the road is still long and dangerous. Most of them go back and forth to the north, trying to reach England. Their aim is to stay as little as possible in the Calais camp, known as the Jungle. "Jungle is a war", says a young member of the collective. Other participants have barely begun the process of applying for asylum.
These processes can take several years. They are all waiting. It is in this suspended time that this project took shape.
The aim is to share materials so that exiled people can represent themselves, create their own narratives and share their views on their host society, while learning new communication techniques. To take an active part in a collective project to deal with the impact of waiting, to mobilise other resources to contrast thoughts related to the violence suffered and the present uncertainty.
The workshops take place on the same days at the same time and they become an anchor point, a regular meeting where participants are expected.
As a result of being uprooted and experiencing trauma, the relationship to time and space is altered. This has an impact on the daily life of these people, at a time when the discovery of a new environment requires the ability to find one's bearings and to mobilise psychological resources.
Each participant is provided with a film camera, which they can keep with them outside of the time spent together.
A shared time of urban exploration allows the young people to take pictures and discover different neighbourhoods. Convinced that all these people are entitled to take part in urban life and benefit from the different locations, we made the choice to conduct the workshops far away from the ephemeral camps of the capital. A way to encourage the appropriation of space and new interactions.
There is a second, more reflective focus, where participants discuss the photos they have taken. This allows them to draw on their personal imagination, without having to put words to their own experience.
The workshops also offer occasions to reflect on all the differences and codes of our society. The themes are chosen after a collective discussion, where each budding photographer can get involved in the construction of the project through individual proposals, often bridging the gap between past and present, culture of origin and host culture.
Concerts, exhibitions, documentaries and books have enriched the discussions. Depending on the themes, each person is invited to take the role of "mediator" and to share his or her knowledge with the rest of the group. During the ex-position "Bilad es Sudan" by the photographer Claude Iverné, the participants from Sudan and South Sudan improvised a guided tour. This aroused the interest of the other visitors who joined us.
The workshops involved more than fifty people from ten different countries.
Fwaz / Bakir / Yasser / Alsadeg / Essa / Halima / Simon / Bahr / Walid / Alsadig / Mamadou / Amer / Younis / Joy / Boubou / Mahmoud / Mahaman / Omar / Majed Ahmad Majed / Patience / Mahommed / Sadik / Sam / Alla / Haron / Ali / Adam / Hasan / Aminata / Sylly / Paco / Aliou / Ellah / Ezedine / Hassan / Josephine / Talal
We went to see:
«Exil», Josef Koudelka, Centre Pompidou, Paris
«Bilad es Sudan», Claude Iverné, Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson Paris
«T'es sérieux», Sébastien Petit, Collectif Curry Vavart, Shakirail, Paris
«Afriques Capitales», exposition collective, La Villette, Paris
«Weegee», Galerie Meyer, Paris
«Passport», Alexander Chekmenev et «Tools of resistance» Sasha Kurmatz, Galerie Folia, Paris
«Jeune», exposition collective, Galerie du Crous, Paris
«Étranger résident», collection Marin Karmitz, Maison Rouge, Paris
«Rock the Kasbah», exposition collective, Institut des Cultures d'Islam, Paris
«Acte I. Collection Sainte-Anne. Les origines» MAHHSA, Hôpital Sainte-Anne, Paris
A la découverte du street art, Belleville, Paris
«Afriques en lutte», Parole Errante,, Montreuil
«WAITING. Une réflexion sur l'attente», exposition collective de La Maison des Journalistes, Paris
«Persécutés / Persécuteurs, des Hommes du XX siècle», August Sanders, Mémorial de la Shoah, Paris
«Sudans Forgotten Films», documentaire, Suhaib Gasmelbari