Supported by the ALMAYUDA FOUNDATION, the Spanish photographer and visual artist José Ramón Bas has worked in the two Congos with street children taken in by charitable organisations that are themselves aided by the Salisa Africa Foundation.
Bango, documentary film presented by José Ramón Bas.
It was with the support of ALMAYUDA that José Ramón Bas threw himself into a 30-minute-long documentary film, Bango, the heroes of which are the street children of Brazzaville and Kinshasa.
Bango, which has also been published as a book (see the “Publications” section), is a word that comes from Lingala, one of the official African languages of both Congos. It means ‘them’ and was chosen as a title in honour of the children, the real heroes of this outstanding artistic project full of playful mischief and mutual understanding.
Bango provides the children and their teachers or educators with the opportunity to make their voices heard. The film weaves in drawn portraits, turning the piece into a moving visual work.
I’m gonna love myself and take care of myself.
In it we can see the ‘actors’ dance to the lyrics, full of energy and hope, of Renacimiento by the rapper Kase.O: “I’m gonna look at myself in the mirror and I’m gonna forgive myself at last for the bad I’ve done to myself. I’m gonna look inside and I’m gonna bathe myself in my own life of health and knowledge. Because it’s my life that’s at stake. There’s nothing more important, seeing as it’s the only thing I have! I’m gonna love myself and take care of myself. From now on, I don’t want memories. I need to live more! I’m on it!”
Today I dreamed that I could change!
José Ramón Bas’s work in the two Congos is one of the finest examples of an initiative that combines an artistic project with humanitarian action, an approach that ALMAYUDA particularly values.
In fact, the children have never been on the receiving end of this initiative; instead, they have been its actors and its subjects. They had a camera or photographic device in their hands for the first time ever. They took photographs (of each other) and filmed (each other) for the first time ever. For the first time ever, they met an artist and shared with him on an equal footing. Some of them have retained their ties with him and continue to take photographs. We find ourselves here at the very heart of an experience in the main sense of the term: those involved in it have not gone untouched by it, as it will influence the course of their lives forever.
This documentary by Blas has featured in a number of exhibitions in Africa and in Europe. ALMAYUDA hopes that it will draw attention to the fate of street children and that artistic creation will thus benefit humanitarian action.
Pictures and documentary José Ramón Bas and Cinzia Giovanettoni
Useful link : www.joseramonbas.com
José Ramón Bas
A dyed-in-the-wool traveller
“He’s a dyed-in-the-wool traveller. He’s a poet in the same way that he breathes. He defies classification and, a man who loves spaces and people, he invents objects that preserve the memory of his experiences and his emotions. He is not concerned with building a work but is instead keen to reproduce the time he spent travelling in Africa, Cuba or Brazil.
“During his travels, he takes photographs playfully, compulsively. Then, when he returns to Spain, he looks at his contact sheets and decides to transform the images he has recorded into objects. He makes prints, paying little attention to the technique, and then he sets to work on them: he might write on the proof, scratch it, mistreat it, depending on his mood or the inspiration of the moment, before setting it in resin and elevating it – part image, part sculpture – to the status of an object.
“He sees each negative as paving the way to countless possibilities that he will make in a range of formats, from the square to the panoramic, and which are intended to convey his memory of his experience of his journey. Thus, his parallelepipeds, as ethereal as presence itself, occupy the wall with subtlety and invite us into a world of dreams and serenity.”
By Christian Caujolle – Agence VU’ Galerie