Fifteen teenagers from one of Medellin’s poorest neighborhoods, Comuna 8, give an insight into their daily life through “Constructing social change through photography,” an exhibition of photos in the Public Piloto Library.
The teenagers were given the chance to share their view of reality through photography in a project supported by the municipality of Medellin, and each took a photography course for a period of six months.
The aim of the project is to focus attention on the human rights in Comuna 8. The area lacks many social services, such as water and adequate housing
Libardo Andres Agudelo, one of the participants, told Colombia Reports that he wanted to “tell people about reality, reality from my point of view.”
According to Agudelo a big problem is that many people in Medellin are not aware of the daily struggles in the Comuna, as they never set foot there. “They don’t want to know the other reality because this would imply responsibility. The comunas equal ‘common’ people, and common people equal violent people.”
He said that stigmatization of residents is a problem, and hopes that the authorities will take action to safeguard the human rights of local people, specifically the right to drinking water, food, housing, and, most importantly, the right to life.
The photos are portraits and scenes of daily life, such as children playing, people working and families together. They are striking in how normal they look, the amount of joy that is present in them despite the harsh situation residents face.
The Public Piloto Library, where the exhibition is held has a deep affiliation with photography, their photo archive starts in 1846 and they hope to open a photography archive room to the public soon. Juan Sanchez of the communications department believes photography is “an element in the communication with people” and that the exhibition shows that in the comunas “people attempt to live well, making use of the very little means they have.”
The photography project is just of the many projects made by Comuna 8 residents in an effort to improve the situation of its inhabitants. In December five documentaries will be released about life in the neighborhood.
The exposition will run from November 11-27.