Africa – Brazil – Caribbean, “A Meeting of Eyes.”

Photos taken by kids in “A Meeting of Eyes.”

Photos taken by kids in:

“A Meeting of Eyes” – is a project begun in July 2004 under the direction of Dirce Carrion, president of the non-profit Brazilian organization Imagem da Vida (Image of Life). “A Meeting of Eyes,” establishes an exchange between children and communities that have similar cultural roots, but have been separated by the history of slavery. Filmmaker/photographer/writer Marcelo Fortaleza Flores who introduced the teaching of digital video to children in Dakar and Gorée Island in Senegal, and Senegalese filmmaker El-Hadji Samba Sarr, who taught the video workshops among the maroons of São Lourenço, in Northeastern Brazil, worked on the project. Marcelo is currently editing a film using photography and moving images produced by the children and their experiences of the project – in their own words. Marcelo described to me some of the challenges of working across cultural and digital divides. It is important, he points out, to “give the kids a strong sense of identity, because the world they live in is typically seen as a horrible world, by the media and the elite……one that they must get away from.” Marcelo says of his work, “we try to give value and power to culture, to show the kids how powerful and valuable African and African American culture is, so they can have something they can identify with, and they are not torn between school and the West, and their mother’s or family, and dejection, and they do not see themselves as the excluded “rest” as opposed to a longed for “West”, a goal that is unattainable for them.” To see video clips from the project go to Ugonet.

Photos by Marcelo Fortaleza Flores of kids in “A Meeting of Eyes.”



More About Filmmaker/Photographer/Writer Marcelo Fortaleza Flores:
“I have been teaching photography and filmmaking (Digital Media) to Amazonian indigenous peoples as well as to disenfranchised children in Africa since 1995. Here is a photograph of Yanahin Wauja, an indigenous photographer and cameraman I trained in the Xingu Park in Brazil, filming a rehearsal for the representation of a Wauja ritual mask dance in Montpellier, France in 2005. The representation was sponsored by the new ethnographic Musée du Quai Branly as part of the Year of Brazil in France. Yanahin and I are co-directors in a joint project about the Wauja mask dance and its representation in Western cultures. A recent publication in the review Gradhiva in France features two excellent photographs by Yanahin.”