Sunday, February 09, 2014

Photography and Food - Slideluck in Fez

Peace Corps worker Amoy Barnes
Want to see your photos on show? Then submit them to Slideluck Fez - a public slideshow and pot-luck meal to be held on April 6

The photographic work of 10 emerging and established Fez photographers and artists and 10 youth photographer students from the local Dar Chabab (youth center) will be on public display at Slideluck, an event at the ALIF Riad. The deadline is March 2 for submissions.

Peace Corps worker, Amoy Barnes, who is co-ordinating the local version of Slideluck, says that, "We are looking for creative, thought-provoking submissions, but are open to a variety of images."

Slideluck has been held in more than 75 cities around the world. It is run by a non profit organisation which is dedicated to building and strengthening community through food and art.

The idea is to bring together diverse groups of people, artwork, food, ideas and perspectives under one roof - with the aim of creating a unique and magical event.

Amoy Barnes, who comes from New York, knew about Slideluck. "I think, I believe and I know it will work very well in Fez," she says. She has been working with the local Dar Chabab, or youth centre, for the past two years, and is almost at the end of her stay in Morocco.

"Dar Chababs are youth centres are run by the government, in partnership with the Peace Corps," she explains. "They focus on offering life skills necessary for development, encouraging young people to be active citizens in today's economy."

She points out that, with a massive proportion of the Moroccan population being young, (29% are under 14), that unemployment is a significant and growing problem. "Young people need to understand various things to do with getting a job and work. To do that they need to have things like English language skills, computer skills and be able to write a resume and a cover letter."

"I have been working at a Dar Chabab at Merja, a suburb in the Ville Novelle," Amoy says. "It's in one of the outlying suburbs, with a lot of unfinished buildings and not much infra-structure. When I went there, I wanted to offer activities that would interest them. I found these kids are very creative. They love theatre, and did a lot of art. I introduced photography, because it forces them to really look at things; to critically analyse. I wanted them to understand not just to jump in front of a camera, but to understand the meaning of taking a picture - to create something and look at what it represents."

Amoy Barnes, right, with children from the Merja Dar Chabab

Amoy enlisted the help of local photographer Omar Chennafi, the co-ordinator of the ALC-ALIF Photography Club, who held workshops and classes in how to look at and analyse photos. He also took the children to a photographic exhibition held by the French Institute. "Omar got them to look at what photography is and how they could be creative with it," she says. "The kids had an outing in the medina with members of the ALC-ALIF Photography Club. All the kids got to use Omar's camera and another student's camera. Having 12 kids (from the Dar Chabab) in the Medina was an adventure for sure. Even I was surprised by how well it went."

Amoy says that above all, what she wanted to do was to encourage the children she was working with to "think for themselves, be active citizens. To ask how can you better yourself and your community?"

Photography, she feels, gives them exposure to the wider world. For this reason, Amoy thought holding a Slideluck event in Fez would be a good fit. "So the idea is that the kids are given 10 - 12 disposable cameras and their work is shown alongside emerging and established photographers."

She approached the American Language Center director David Amster, who agreed to sponsor Slideluck at the ALIF Riad.

As well as a slideshow, to be held at 4 PM, an essential part of the event is the pot-luck meal at 2 PM, where everyone attending brings a plate of food to share. "Food is probably the most ancient way of sharing. It brings communities together; it connects people, no matter what their background."

To find out more about Slideluck and how to submit your photos, CLICK HERE. The deadline for submissions is March 2. 

When: Sunday April 6 at 2 PM Pot-luck meal (bring a plate of food to share), 4 PM Slideshow
Where: ALIF Riad, 6 Derb Drissi, Fez. 0535624850. If you don't know the way, meet at 1.45 PM at the Batha Fountain

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