The Opening of ‘HATE HURTS’ Photography Exhibition on the 12th May at the Cultural Centre Asteria in Milan was marked with a Talk Event organised by perdirittiumani.com (for human rights) with invited guest speakers Paolo Pobbiati, Spokesman for Amnesty International Italy and myself photojournalist.
The event had a great turn out. Alessandra Montesanto from PerDirittiUmani set the Talk off with a question about the meaning of the words opening a slide presentation ‘Hate Hurts: to understand, to document and to change’.
I explained that these words are very connected to the way I do my work and to what I believe photojournalism’s work should do. The main objective being presenting it to the wide public and in particular those in power to make positive changes for the issues being told. The work as being a channel for this to happen or a catalyst towards this to happen through an increased awareness.
In the process I am looking at ways that most effectively work for this purpose. Being present in Centro Asteria to show ‘Hate Hurts’ and the stories of hate crimes victims through a photography exhibition and talking about the issue in the Cultural Centre Asteria belongs to this very process.
Some highlights were very interesting thoughts on the dynamics built around hate crimes. Members of the public suggested that one of the causes is being an increasing nationalism or perceived nationalism in Europe. I cannot but agree that extreme right wings getting stronger support in Europe has ties with a political discourse based on the idea that we need to defend our national identities and borders from the ‘invasion’ of refugees and migrants. Even if, these are not the result of thorough research, they are irresponsibly presented as facts.
Paolo Pobbiati showed a recent compiled research from Amnesty of countries that have taken the most of refugees. These were mostly from outside of Europe: Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, which gave another perspective to the refugee crisis.
During the course of the evening, photographs from the photography project ‘Hate Hurts’ were projected and I was asked to run a commentary on some of the people’s stories represented in the photographs. The stories highlight the plight of victims of hate crimes looking at its various forms from psychological crimes, verbal and physical. Many of the photographs also showed the extend of the silent pain going through thousands of refugees and migrants in a state of bureocratic and political limbo.
The photography exhibition ‘Hate Hurts’ continues to the 26th May 2016 at the Centro Asteria, Milan.
I regularly write a column on hate crimes on this page;
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