I had the opportunity to work with a colleague of mine Rogier Bos a talented photographer, with whom I have worked before but we have never photographed a project together.
I had plans to photograph Daniel Robert whom I had photographed before and
Giovanni Princic, they are both dancers of the great Dutch Dance Company “Het Nationale Ballet”
We chose the day and we had the photo session at Rogier studio at “Coolsingel” in Rotterdam where I also have my studio and we could count on the help of my friend Elisa Silva who assisted. We had not planned a theme, it would be a normal shoot like our previous ones, but we saw that we could create something interesting having a duet of such great
dancers, so we decided to talk about important issues, like facts that oppressed and torn human freedom over the centuries , and one of the factors is the racial prejudice that mainly affects the black race since it was invented during slavery and the daily struggle for equality. As a woman and black I know what it is and how it feels like.
The Netherlands had a great participation in slavery, as did the Spanish, French and Portuguese, the one who colonized Brazil.
'' I asked a Dutch friend what the feelings from the Dutch peoples are about this?
"Having participation in something as degrading to human history as slavery is not something we are proud of it..."
Is possible to go deep into the history , and find several books and articles that deal with this subject.
We called the Unity project and created a series of 6 pictures, of Daniel and Giovanni who rehearsed each and every gesture of the jumps, to symbolize it.
The thematic pictures began to be posted on May 5 on social networks and Rogier Bos Blog purposely because it was a special day in Dutch history, the liberation day (Bevrijdingsdag) which is day that the Dutch celebrate the surrender of Nazi Germany . For the Dutch, this marks the end of World War II (read more about this subject here.
May 13 is the last posting day for Rogier Bos and my first posting day because is the day we celebrate in Brazil the
Abolition of slavery, the Aurea Law, is a law enacted in 1888 that extinguished slavery in Brazil (read more here).
''Fate brought together two photographers, one
black and one white, and two dancers one black
and one white, so we decided to reverse the
roles, I photographed Giovanni on the black
background and Rogier photographed Daniel on
white background ''
The first image represents oppression!
Over the centuries blacks have been oppressed by whites, I wish this had stayed in the past but still is present in different ways and covert! If you are a little different from the social accepted standards, then you most certainly have experiences to share!
The second image represents Rising up
Slavery is not, and it was never a choice, it was imposed on us, and brutally imposed, being in it would be a choice, so there was a need to rise up even if it cost many lives, which really did and still does!
''In life we have to put a stop to everything that oppressed us, everything that goes against our principles, everything that takes away our freedom and hurts our soul. Every change requires some kind of sacrifice''.
Manifestation is a solitary or group reaction expressed to defend a public cause or opinions.
The twentieth century was marked by important movements such as the fight against racism and the guarantee of human rights for blacks, women and homosexuals
This struggle is not yet over and we can witness clearly, especially when we are part of this minority
We cannot talk about this subject and without remembering some of these movements.
The Apartheid. One of the largest racial segregation regimes in South Africa, lasted for more than 50 years (1948-1994) and had the great Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison, as a symbol and leader in the fight against the apartheid government.
About Nelson Mandela Here
She was the first black woman to study in a white school in the USA in the mid-1950s and 1960s! An approved law forced the beginning of the end of the racial segregation in the country and several North American schools were forced to accept black students in their institutions!
The first students suffered greatly from various physical and verbal attacks
About Elizabeth here
‘’I have a dream ‘’
Almost everyone has already heard a lot of it!
This phrase was spoken by Martin Luther King on August 28, 1963 at Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC (in the United States) and considered one of the best speeches of all time
Martin Luther King (1929-1968) was a American activist, fighting against racial discrimination and became one of the most important leaders of the movements that fought for black civil rights in the United States. He received in 1964 the Nobel Peace Prize
He was a big dreamer and made an incredible journey until he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, that day the world lost a lot, but his struggles and words were not in vain and even today they encourage new struggles and conquests
About Martin Luther King Jr here
There are several people that we can mention here that were revolutionaries and many paid with their lives so that today we continue to be inspired and fighting for equality, the struggle goes on!
Our world is very imperfect and in many places uninhabitable, but what keeps us alive and striving for our goals is our individual hope.
Improvement in all aspects begins with consideration! The need to recognize mistakes, failures and ask forgiveness.
But this is the world of images that we create and as dream artists we can paint our own world!
The perfect world where there is consideration and recognition does not exist, but there are people with these characteristics and for this reason we are still here!
We cannot change the whole world, but we can consider changing the world around us, starting with ourselves.
Think about it !
The world we idealize, there is consideration and recognition! It would be ideal It reminds me of the beautiful song 'Imagine' by John Lennon… “
…’’Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one’’ …
The last image ! Unity
And this last image represents the unity because we still have dreams as Martin Luther King said, ''I have a dream''...
I've heard that man dies when he stops dreaming, so stay alive
Today May 13 we celebrate the day of the Abolition of slavery in Brazil, a day for consideration and recognition for everyone?
''May dreams and freedom live on''!
The team : Dancers , Daniel Robert e Giovanni Princic
Photographers : Rogiers e Sara Westmaas
Assistant : Elisa Silva
Photos edit by Rogier Bos ,more about the project in the Rogier view here
Behind the scenes by me editing by L dias from Dunamis Filmes
On Instagram I asked people's opinions on these subjects and here are some of the inputs that I got.
''I think that, sadly enough, oppression has always been part of our history...and as you said, it’s still present in our society nowadays. Throughout my life I’ve seen a lot of groups being oppressed (black and poor people, gays, migrants...). I believe that change starts within ourselves and that if we want to live in a better world we should start working in ourselves daily, to become a better human being 😬 so we can improve our society! 🙌🏻 Thanks for sharing! Keep on with this amazing work!
By Vivi @vidabyvivi
''The picts are amazing and it is such an elegant way to represent oppression. As an spiritual freak (yes, this is me xD) my answer will be that sometimes we are our own oppressor. Underestimating and talking ourselves down. Oppression is never positive, nothing that walks on the opposite direction of freedom is. Good job! :D!''
''Very important. But we also mustn't ignore the fact that slavery hasn't been abandoned in the first world cointries. We just moved it out of our sight into third world countries where our products are being produced by very poor human beings. A lot of people I talked to about this don't like to hear this using the argument that people have a choice. Easy to say when you grow up in a first world country.''