PEOPLE OF SAN BERILLO & SENEGAL/SICILY
The photographic project People of San Berillo by Giovanni Hänninen and the series of short video-documentaries Senegal/Sicily created by Alberto Amoretti and Giovanni Hänninen are two projects created with the common objective of addressing the different aspects of illegal migration in African and Western society.
In the series of photographs, Hänninen’s lens restores dignity to migrants – often considered only as numbers and flows – with a collective portrait of the society they come from. The inspiration for this project comes from the work of the German photographer August Sander (People of the Twentieth Century), who in the 1920s took a series of portraits of ordinary people for a catalogue of the roles of German society shortly before the rise of Nazism.
Senegal/Sicily is a series of short video-documentaries on the theme of migration between Senegal and Sicily, born from the collaboration of Alberto Amoretti and Giovanni Hänninen with The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and the NGO Le Korsa. The aim of the project is twofold: to create awareness in Europe and America about the thoughts, dreams and experiences of migrants and their families left behind in Senegal and, at the same time, to give young people in the Tambacounda region a frank account of the risks of the journey and what happens in Europe to people who have managed to arrive.
The Senegal/Sicily short films found their first audience with travelling screenings in schools and villages in Tambacounda. Massamba, a member of the staff of the NGO Le Korsa, periodically reaches the most remote areas of the region, taking a projector with him to set up improvised cinemas and bring testimonies and information on what migration is all about.
The first documentary in the series to be screened in Selinunte square is a dialogue between a mother, Aisadou, speaking from her village in eastern Senegal, and her son Alpha, in Sicily, who left home to find a better future. Aisadou lives in Sinthian, a village in the Tambacounda region, one of the poorest in Senegal. This is where the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation built Thread, a cultural centre and artists’ residence. Alpha lives in Mazzarino, a small town in the centre of Sicily. Mother and son talk about their hopes and regrets. Aisadou talks about the concerns of every mother and Alpha about the difficulties he has had to face.
The short film and the photographic exhibition by Giovanni Hänninen and Alberto Amoretti were hosted in an ALER flat in Piazzale Selinunte in Milan and in the windows of the associations in the neighborhood, in order to reflect on the experience of home living in Europe and Africa, in collaboration with the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. The event was realised on the occasion of the exhibition Appocundria, set up at Casa Testori and curated by Marta Cereda.