residency: giovanni Hänninen & Alberto Amoretti
Giovanni Hänninen and Alberto Amoretti, a photographer and film-maker respectively, from Milan, IT, have become one of the most pivotal and powerful artists to date. Below please find a selection from the various series they have executed while at Thread in 2017. They have worked closely with Thread on once of the most pressing issues we face -- combatting clandestine immigration;.
PEOPLE OF TAMBA
We are living in an era when African people migrating to Europe are considered solely as numbers. Over recent years newspapers have daily reports on how many migrants have arrived on the shore of Sicily, how many have died and how many are kept in camps on the Libyan coasts. In an increasingly xenophobic wave crossing all over Europe and the USA, Westerners seem to have forgotten the humanity behind these numbers. Few are interested in the stories of the migrants, their previous role in society, the reason why they decided to leave their country.
The photographic project People of Tamba, comprised of 200 pictures, aims to create a typological catalogue of the society of Tambacounda, the largest city in the country’s most internal and rural region and the point of departure for the majority of Senegalese clandestine migration.
The inspiration for this project is German photographer August Sander’s People of the Twentieth Century—a series of portraits of real individuals and their roles within German society just before the rise of the Nazi regime.
Senegal/Sicily: Short Documentary Series
Senegal/Sicily is a series of short documentaries. Every short doc has the aim to share a different point of view on the theme of migration between Senegal and Sicily. Those who leave have little and sometimes false information on the steps and obstacles that the journey entails.
The multi-part project aims to create awareness amongst Europeans and Americans about the reflections, dreams and experiences of the migrants and of their relatives who remained in Senegal. Concurrently, the project hopes to show the young people of Tambacounda considering embarking on the journey, a sincere account of the risks of the voyage and what’s happening in Europe to those who have arrived.
The first documentary of the series is a dialogue between a mother, Aisadou, speaking from her village in the eastern part of Senegal, and her son, Alpha, in Sicily having left home to find a better future. Aisadou lives in Sinthian, a village in the region of Tambacounda, one of the poorest in Senegal. This is where the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation built Thread, a cultural center and artists’ residence. Alpha lives in Mazzarino, a small town in the center of Sicily. Mother and son speak about their hopes and their regrets; Aisadou talks of the worries of every mother and Alpha about the hardships he has faced. Click here to watch a trailer for ALPHA/AISADOU
San Berillo was the red-light district of Catania, during the 90s many Senegalese migrants found cheap housing there and started new lives in Italy. Migrants who arrived in the last few years also settled here, but they found a very different situation. There are too many newcomers in an increasingly xenophobic Europe, which is now going through its own economic crisis.
This short documentary shows the differences between migrants who came to Europe twenty years ago and the recent arrivals who often sleep in the streets and whose daily lives are filled with hardship.
[Currently in Post Production]
THE GIRLS AT THE FOYER
Le Foyer de Jeunes Filles in Tambacounda is a home for girls and young women who come to the capital city to attend secondary school. Coming from villages that only have primary schools, the girls can count on a safe place to live while they finish their education. If not for Le Foyer, they would have to abandon their studies and, most likely, remain in their villages and marry well underage.
The girls at Le Foyer talk about their desire to get the training they need to help their country. They not only want to graduate, but to become leaders of a new Senegal.
[Currently in Post Production]
FAMILIES IN WAITING
Mothers, brothers and sisters of young men who tried to reach Europe lost their beloved in the sea. The hope of a better future for their families died with them. Thiaroye-sur-mer is a fishing village that over the past decade has lost hundreds of men and boys. Some mothers have created an association to try to prevent clandestine migration and help women who were left behind. Some of these women are still waiting for a phone call for a loved one long since silent.
People leave their countries with dreams of a bright future, but as clandestine migrants the odds are against them and many lose their lives and savings during the journey. Even migrants who reach Europe often realize that the suffering was greater than any success that could await them.
LANDSCAPES OF SENEGAL
Just as migrants are often only exist as numbers for Westerners, Africa is often visualized through stereotyped postcards. This selection of landscape pictures aims to give a sincere and diversified view of the real Senegal.
bringing light and power to Sinthian
The aim of the project Prometheus is to bring light to the village of Sinthian, in the Tambacounda region in Senegal, where The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and Le Korsa built Thread.
In the context of Sub-Saharan communities not yet with access to electricity, the installation of solar powered equipment would affect the everyday life of the inhabitants. In the past ten years, a variety of academic research projects rendered these impacts through scientific data driven analysis. Prometheus aims to rigorously document the impact of rural electrification, using photography and video as the primary media, in order to understand the impact that light can have on the life and the economy of the village. This could be used as a test case to show to a broader audience the effect of such small actions and improve the audience’s logical and emotional understanding of the problem.
This collection of photos shows landscapes of Sinthian by night, where fires, torches, cellphones and sporadic passage of motorbikes and cars are the only lights to scratch the darkness. Long exposure photographs allow us to show how people use the available lighting devices and so their real necessities beyond the hypothesis of academic research. These images represent a documentation of the present situation and a first step in the study of how electric light could change the life of the village.