BredaPhoto Festival 2020 has chosen a photo by Adreinne Waheed as its campaign image. The photo is from her series ‘Black Joy and Resistance’.
With her photos of celebrations and demonstrations, this American photographer wants to offer an alternative to the way that black people are often portrayed in the media. Waheed (47) says: “The story I want to tell is a counter story. Because when do you, newspaper readers and TV-viewers, see images of black people? With the exception of sportspeople and singers? When we are victims or when we are perpetrators. Victims of police violence. Perpetrators of gang violence. I try to show the opposite of the negativity. Pleasure. Beauty. Magic. My work is a celebration of brown and black people”.
Over Black Joy & Resistance
Her newest book, Black Joy & Resistance, is a visual record of her travels to places where the African diaspora have settled, where she photographed people during celebrations and demonstrations. From the Carnival in the Brazilian Salvador da Bahia to a protest against an increase in school fees in South African Johannesburg. From the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington to the AfroPunk festival in New York. She sees the individual in each mass of people, the men and women that show a whole life behind the single photo. Her photos are always multi-layered, the layers often contradictory. If a parade has a serious intention, such as a protest march in Johannesburg, people still sing, dance and beat their drums. And when a parade is a celebration, such as the West-Indian parade in Brooklyn, there is – at the same time – a serious underlying purpose. With the parade, the participants claim their territory and its boundaries, in opposition to gentrification. Resistance is pleasure and pleasure is resistance. “We have fun even when we rebel”, she says. “The people in power want to restrain us, they say our culture is wrong, that we need to adjust and take things easier. But pleasure cannot be diluted. The simple message is that pleasure is a human right – the pursuit of happiness. I want to show the pursuit for pleasure”.
“We chose one of Adreinne Waheed’s photos because it’s a powerful image that make us think”, said curator Geert van Eyck of BredaPhoto. “On the one hand, it symbolizes ‘resistance’. But on the other hand, because it’s ablaze with color and because of the playful character of the snake around the neck, it’s a source of optimistic energy. This photo is perfectly suited to our theme of ‘the best of times, the worst of times’”.