Artraker Biennial Awards 2017
CONFLICT AREA / COUNTRY OF REFERENCE: REPUBLIC DEMOCRATIC OF CONGO
There are presently 8 million orphans in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The project We are the Heritage, places a face and identity to the orphans, preventing them from just being a number. With this lattes project that was built in collaborating with the orphanage Bumi in DRC I represent who is an orphan. With a studio style photography approach, I photographed the orphans from Bumi. Each orphan was wrapped in the traditional fabric called Pagne. The Pagne is representative of the culture, power, heritage and fashion of central Africa. By wrapping the orphans in the Pagne, I replace the power and culture on a physical being, therefore representing the orphans as the culture, power, heritage and the future of DRC.
The irony of the Pagne is that the patterns and fabric was imposed by colonial rule to make sure locals do not adopt and dress with European styled fashion. Congolese adopted it for their own cultural identify, after European decolonization. The major distributor of Pagne is Belgium, the same old colonizer and the cheaper versions, that are mass-produced, come from China. No Pagnes are actually produced in central Africa. Every Chinese Pagne can feed an orphan for one month. Every Belgium Pagne can feed 12 orphans for a month. (DRC imports 25 million dollars of textiles per year)
We are the Heritage
© Artraker CIC 2017
Aydin Matlabi was born during the Iraq/Iran war, arrived as a refugee to Montreal and grew up in a street gang. Violence and injustice are part of my identity, and they are a source of inspiration to his work. At 19, a professor gave Matlabi a camera and boxes of negatives. She only asked him to show her his world. Matlabi showed her his gangs, yet she saw more in him. She saw past the violence, without judgment. She gave Matlabi hope.
Aydin Matlabi is a Humanitarian Artist. He travels the world in search of subjects and narratives to photograph, to create stories that represent humanity’s struggles and strengths. He wants to understand how humanity comes to accept violence as their reality. Hope changed his life. Now he wants to give hope to the ones that may have lost it and why he created Foundation 64.
Foundation 64, creates visuals for woman right and child protection in developing countries and war zone. The founder Aydin Matlabi, wanted to build a platform to give a voice to does who had lost it. Making sure their stories where never forgotten.