Empowerment Through Art: Photography and Latin American Migrant Girls in London
A project by Pablo Allison in collaboration with Roxana Allison
Rediscover London; look through the eyes of young Latin American women living in the UK. The exhibition ‘Empowerment Through Art: Photography and Latin American Migrant Girls in London’ explores issues of national and gender identities through the universal language of photography.
‘Empowerment through Art’ is a documentary photographic exhibition developed by British-Mexican photographer Pablo Allison, whose photography often explores the concept of boundaries, both physical and social. The exhibition responds to London’s Latin American community which is vastly growing yet often overlooked. Pablo Allison’s project nurtures the voice of young Latin American women and explores their unique perception of London.
Allison supported 11 Latin American women on the cusp of youth and adulthood in developing their photography skills. The exhibition includes the participant’s photographs representing their experiences of living in London. The young women’s photography transforms seemingly everyday scenes into hidden discoveries and insightful understandings. Nathalie, a 17 year old participant born in Ecuador and living in Peckham, said her participation has helped her to “describe everything that I see in a photo.” Their photography provides an understanding into their lives and explores themes of freedom, memory, and crucially, independence.
Displayed alongside each visual diary are Pablo Allison’s photographic portraits of each participant, which clearly present them all as empowered young women. As part of the project, the women choose a heroine of the Latin American Wars of Independence (1810-1825), to study their lives and learn from their courage. The women were able to relate to these examples of strong Latin American women, as one participant explains “being a Latin American in this country you must be very brave in whatever comes along.” Carolina Gottardo, the director of Latin American Women’s Rights Service, recognises the young women’s strong principles and potentials, and concludes: ‘they are not victims; these are young women who can stand with their heads held high, looking toward the future.’
The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and hosted by the University of Nottingham in partnership with the Latin American Women’s Rights Service. The exhibition is part of a larger research project ‘Women and Latin American Independence’ funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council at the University of Nottingham to investigate the role of women in the Latin American Wars of Independence two hundred years ago.