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Project Multivizija: Multimedia, Theatre and Dance Training for Vulnerable Groups implements APIS Institute with partners. Operation is co-funded by Republic of Slovenia and European Social Fund of the European Union.

Participants

Urša Tonejec 

Though I come from Jezersko in the Gorenjska region, I’ve been living in Ljubljana ever since I started university. First I studied Russian and library science, but when my disease got worse, and I ended up on the wheelchair, I stopped. I needed a new start, so I began studying multimedia (IAM). Through employment rehabilitation I worked on interesting cultural projects.

I took part in the photography training because I wanted to advance the knowledge I gained at school and learn something new. It’s always interesting how many new things you learn at these workshops, particularly about yourself; you also always meet new people.

My photo series is humorous. At first, when they asked me what I did during the day, it was quite daunting. What do I do? I don’t do anything – was my initial answer. But in the course of my supervisors’ questions and meetings with other participants I reconsidered. What I arrived at was that I actually do a lot, just not as a routine. I am not bored. I tackle various situations, which sometimes seem difficult, but they become humorous when presented from my perspective, because they are bizarre. My series recounts my im-perfect day: filled with challenges, which I face in a creative and funny way. In life, you have to be resourceful. The world isn’t going to fall apart if we do some things differently.

Katrin Modic

Who is Katrin Modic? (Silence.) I never think about myself. Others describe me as intensely active. Everything I do, has meaning for me, I find it interesting. If I don’t, I look for something else to do. If it works, I keep at it, or I look for something else, or I change what doesn’t work. I am driven by inner motivation. I primarily view any education as a chance for personal and intellectual growth.                        

I took part in the training in the field of photography, because I had no previous knowledge of this discipline. It gave me insight into what photography communicates through contrast and composition. Photography is a powerful medium and can underline the message. I don’t photograph myself, because I can’t see. Now that I have some knowledge, I can instruct assistants how to photograph so that the photograph will communicate what I want and need it to in various projects I lead or conduct. Description is vital in providing comprehension of photographs and other visual materials as well as relaying visual messages to blind persons. Sight is not a prerequisite for feeling a connection with and understanding photographs.

I made the series in collaboration with two persons – one, who took the photographs per my instructions and another, who described the photographs to me. The vantage point of my photography series was how I personally deal with my handicap and the social aspect of accepting it. When I was faced with a handicap, which resulted from a disease, I was pitied, avoided, people were afraid to be in contact with me – they ascribed me a sole identity: incapacity. I began to look for possibilities, as to what I can do, and above all for ways to do it. It took a fair amount of time, patience, and above all planning and testing whether the new ways worked. I succeeded in bringing what I wanted to do in line with the fact that my body didn’t work automatically; each motion demanded thought and needed approaching differently.

Everything I do is aimed at creating an appropriate environment, which will enable anyone, no matter their distinctness, to do what they want in a way that’s fitting for them. In my series, I tried to show everything that can be done. The photographs demonstrate what I am able to do, and particularly how I face obstacles and conquer them.

Romana Šteblaj

I am a creative and active person. I readily face challenges, novelties, and changes, even though they sometimes scare me. I like meeting new people, so it was a pleasure to take part in the workshops.

On one hand I joined the photography training to acquire new knowledge, which would help me develop and execute projects and workshops aimed at raising young people’s awareness about differentness; on the other hand, photography is my passion; I wanted to apply to the secondary school of photography, but my disease stopped me from doing so.

My photo series is about me, my fighting spirit, my conquering of obstacles. In my life I have heard more than enough negative comments about what I can and cannot do in my condition. I draw a lot of wisdom and strength from the Holy Bible, which is also a part of my photo series. The Bible supplied answers to many of my questions: how to think, how to react, how to face issues, how to push through obstacles. This faith, which previously wasn’t present in my life, appeared suddenly. Practically over night I could understand the Bible. I enjoyed reading it. One of my more beloved passages reads: “With you I can advance against troops and with my God I can scale a wall” (Psalm 18,30). It tells me that with God I can conquer obstacles even when everything appears hopeless and when the circumstances seem impossible. For me, this also works in practice.

Naiem Ibrahim

My name is Naiem Ibrahim. I am multinational: a Palestinian, Jordanian, Syrian, Qatari… I forget my other nationalities. I studied interior design in Jordania. Currently I work in design, video editing, photography, performance, and also writing.

I got invited to Multivizija through a friend. I had quite a bit of experience in photography, so I wanted to advance my knowledge further. I was particularly interested in the European knowledge and approach to photography, which is different from what I learned in Qatar or Jordania. I am already using my new knowledge. Of course I want to use it more, but I currently lack the equipment I had at home. I will also apply my newly gained knowledge in editing and creating videos, which I will publish on Youtube. I had a similar experience before at university, where we had both photography and acting; with a group of classmates and friends we published our footage on Youtube. Unfortunately, I had to forget all that in the situation I found myself in when I moved to Europe.

Photography is a part of me, it documents my life, and remains as a memory of me or someone who was. In the past, before photography, they would tell imaginary stories about what transpired. Photography testifies that something truly happened.

My series tells of losses: of friendship and family, which I lost in the course of moving between various countries. With my series I want to relate that all people are equal. It is true, that we differ in religions and appearance, but we all come from the same source. We should love each other more and stay away from all this killing and wars we see on television and in everyday life.

Jelena Radusinović

I am Jelena Radusinović. I come from Montenegro and have been living in Ljubljana since 2013. I composed my photo series on the topic of female emotion and expression of feminine identity. It is based on a single life sequence forming my everyday. Identity transforms with emotions, which is why I also tried to capture unplanned psychological moments. I didn’t have a particular script, the photographs were improvised spontaneously, in the moment, earnestly as dictated by my inner subjective feelings, instincts, and by the allotment of precious time at my disposal for creativity. 

I took part in the workshop, because the main theme of “assembled identity” that was the basis of the photo series was close to my heart. It represented a challenge and I enjoyed dealing with it. The question of identity is not hard until someone asks who we are, how we perceive ourselves, and how we present ourselves to others. Even though I have been an amateur photographer for years, and photography has been my passion ever since I was little, I gained additional skills thanks to supervisors Manca Juvan and Luka Dakskobler, who spared no effort to familiarize us with the photography medium in all its forms. I am also happy to have met new people from various environments, who brought their interesting life stories, each one of which would merit presentation in individual additional photo series.

Miranda and Aljoša Škaper

Who are Miranda and Aljoša? We don’t know. (Laughter.) We’re travellers, bon vivants, adventurers, and sometimes also lazy pokes. As a couple, we’re very compatible and complement each other well. Since the accident we work on projects dealing with accessibility.

We applied to the workshop for a very practical reason: we had a camera at home that we haven’t used for a very long time because it was too intricate. We wanted to master technique and learn how to take photographs. Luka and Manca lead the workshop very well and truly taught us an enormous amount about photography and photographic manipulation. Another reason was that we both work from home, and we wanted to find some type of activity that would connect us while at the same time making us leave the house.

We haven’t given a lot of thought to the theme of the workshop, i.e. identities.  When you are faced with a serious injury as a couple, you have to deal with many questions, consider many things, accept yourself and push for a good quality of life. This was also the basis of our photographic story; it is divided into two equal parts, because we photographed one another. We wanted to present our partnership, which is unconventional. Frequently, this is not clearly apparent in the photos, repeatedly begging the question whether the photographed person in the wheelchair even is a part of a couple, because the partner often takes the role of the personal assistant. This is something we disagree with, because we all have our needs and we will all someday need someone else’s support. We opted for black and white photographs, because we wanted to make our relationship the message and diminish other distracting factors. The aim was to present the inner feeling accompanying our relationship. We wanted to depict the details of human existence and at the same time present the variety of situations we find ourselves in and have emotional responses to. We invited people, spectators in to get a small glimpse of our intimate lives and showed them a different view of disability, which people do not ordinarily get a chance to see.

Kevin Koman Modic

I am Kevin and I finished secondary school. I love animals and I want to become a veterinarian.

In the photography workshops I learned how to take photographs.

I made a photo series about my cats. I photographed them, because I caught them in situations I found interesting.

Tina Cerk

More than 15 years ago I came to Ljubljana to study, so I am already a local here. I remember joking about being southern, coming from the southern edge of Ljubljana. I am employed. In my spare time I like to read and create, and of course keep house as well. (Laughter.) All typical, nothing special. Others describe me as communicative, always smiling, a simple, pleasant person. I have a very special kind of humour and way of talking, practically my own language. My friends refer to it as Cerkonian, because I put uncommon expressions where you wouldn’t normally expect them. I am a very special person. (Laughter.)  ​

I was invited to the photography workshops by coordinator Mija. I like photography, and I thought it would be good to learn more about it, particularly what photography itself was, and what you can do with it. The workshop gave me additional knowledge about what makes good photography and what it takes to create a good photograph. I never truly took the time to photograph, I always saw it as a fun pastime. The workshops supplied a goal, and I took my photographs very purposefully.

I approached my series from my personal point of view. Because I am in a wheelchair and the kind of person who notices details, small things, I wanted to show what I saw. I presented my micro-world from the worm’s-eye view. At the workshop we were tasked with photographing a day in our lives.  I don’t like taking selfies myself, so I opted to immortalize myself by way of body parts – my little legs, hands – and through the space I inhabit. Because I’m in a wheelchair I see the world differently.

Naira Tahirović

I am Naira. I come from Bosnia. Self-exploration and study of anthropology brought me to this different cultural environment. Studying other people, convictions, and habits stimulates my personal growth. I’ve been living in Ljubljana for over a year now. In the course of my studies I started working as a personal assistant to a friend, who’s in a wheelchair. This proved a new challenge for me but also an incentive for a more profound exploration of an individual.

I took part in the photography training to gain new skills and profit from the advice of experienced photographers.

My photo series will introduce you to Tina as I see her.

Aber Al Ghendy

I am Aber and I come from Syria. I was born in Damascus, my family is from the small town of Al Quadmus. My father is an officer, and since his pay was insufficient to feed our family, we moved to Al Qadmus, where we had our family house. After secondary school, I went to study in Aleppo and got married there. I am a mother of four. When war broke out in 2014, my youngest child was six months and my oldest six years old. Our house was hit by grenades twice, but we were lucky. One time, a grenade landed on our balcony, but didn't explode, one of the children said that there was a red ball on our balcony. I left Syria with my children in 2017, my husband had left two years earlier and was granted refugee status in Slovenia. In Slovenia we were reunited as a family.

I took part in the photography workshops because I love photography. Who doesn't love it! I wanted to learn how to photograph better and this knowledge will come in handy in the future.

I also have a profound love of poetry and writing. This is why I constructed my series using phone photographs from Syria and Slovenia and poetry. The poem and the central photograph of the children holding hands as they walk down the street speaks about the key event, when my children and I left Syria. We were saying goodbyes for a month, but in the photograph I had combed and arranged my children's hair before taking them to say their final farewells to the people we knew and our family. I am happy that we live in Ljubljana, because this is a safe town that offers my children a better future.

My photo series actually relates a positive and encouraging message, even though in truth every Syrian's story is a sad story. My thoughts go out to all Syrians; I want to help each one with everything I do. I believe art can save the world: I believe in all modes of expression – in journalism, poetry, photography, and the like – in all that tells people what actually happened.

Camilo Acosta Mendoza

I am Camilo Acosta Mendoza. I have two brothers and I was born to a happy and loving family. I come from Columbia and have been moving around a lot ever since I was a child. It started already before I was born, you see my parents lived in a seaside town in Columbia and my mother would go for checkups to Bogota every month. I was born in Bogota prematurely in the seventh month, but quickly ended up with my parents by the sea again. Later we frequently moved around Columbia and also lived in Chile for a while. In adult life, love took me to Europe, first to France, and finally to Slovenia where I currently live with my wife.

I am formally educated as a mechanical engineer, but after a few years of working in engineering I decided to change my profession and become a professional clown. I am strongly defined by my clown identity and profession. As a clown, I am always prepared to say »yes« to new projects, new challenges, new knowledge. Being a clown gave me much of the energy I have now: my personal, human, spiritual, and mental view of the world

I grow more in love with the Multivizija project every day, because the people behind the project are highly professional and engaged. In my work, I often use different approaches like photography, video, dance, acting, which is why the Multivizija project seems like it was tailor made for me. I also liked the part of the workshop aimed at questioning who I am, delving into myself, figuring out who we are as people.

My photo series speaks about my actual life: about my family, friends, the clown profession, performances, migration... It relates that I am happy – that I am happy for everything I have.

I believe that art can change the world: when I say change the world, I mean primarily my world, me personally, a change in my spirit. The first step towards change is to change oneself and the second step is to share that experience. Therefore changing the world not like Jesus Christ or other heroes, Rambo for example, but by being your own hero, choosing freedom, and accepting your own life. The other way to change is to be and share yourself with children: the clown profession is one such way, one which offers people a chance to dream and see things differently. Art has this transcendent energy that transforms the individual, because it offers him a different view of the life he is living.