A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
A photograph makes a connection on an emotional, mental and physical level. Photographs say something about our identity: how do we want to be seen by the outside world, and why do we choose to take the pictures that we do? Photography shows us how we see the world and can change our outlook. We always try to understand images and place them into context. We view photographs from our own unique perspective: our own experiences, fears, dreams, norms and values.
Photography can be used for personal development, to spark communication, and to stimulate creativity in target groups. The project ‘’Do You See What Eye See’’ worked with Students from Sjaki-Tari-Us, a school for people with a mental disability.
Who are we?
Merel van den Berg and Simone Karssen are two students from Holland. They are studying sociocultural development in Utrecht. They were inspired to work with people with special needs after their internships last year. Simone worked at a school with teenagers in Holland, and Merel worked at Sjaki-Tari-Us in Ubud. After leaving Bali the first time, Merel had the feeling that she was not quite done yet, and came back to continue working with Sjaki-Tari-Us. Together, they made this project happen. Their aim is to invite people to become active participates, and to cultivate the integration of individuals and groups into society, in ways that will overcome social and cultural exclusion.
This project is an art-based research, or a research done in a creative way. The target group of students have difficulty expressing themselves with words, but they can express themselves in other ways if given the chance.
Merel and Simone used a medium called Photo Voice. Photo Voice is a method that gives a group of people a voice they usually don’t have. This method relies on the power of images, which can express a person’s thoughts, feelings, and values without using any words. Photography gives them a voice!
“I NEVER MADE A PAINTING AS A WORK OF ART. IT’S ALL RESEARCH.” – PABLO PICASSO
The participants in “Do You See What Eye See” go to school at Sjaki-Tari-Us. Sjaki-Tari-Us is a school for children with mental disabilities, although Merel and Simone prefer to say ‘special needs’ : every person has their own talents and abilities. Most of the students would have no other place to go if not for Sjaki-Tari-Us. We believe that everybody has the right to grow, to develop and earn a place in society. At Sjaki-Tari-Us, the students have a place where they are accepted for who they are and are able to grow from there. This project is about helping the students of Sjaki-Tari-Us to develop, and to spread awareness about people with special needs in society.
‘’NOT LESS, BUT DIFFERENTLY GIFTED’’ – SJAKI-TARI-US
The students worked with a camera for several months. Merel and Simone taught them how to use the camera and gave them the freedom to take pictures of their daily lives. The most important thing is that their participants got to do something new, something challenging, something fun, and something they learned from. Merel and Simone used “Do You See What Eye See” to empower the students. In return, the students inspired Merel and Simone, surprised them and gave them a lot of positivity. The audience is able to see the life of the students, through their own eyes. We can hear their voices through the artistic medium of photography. We can hear their voices. We heard their voices!
For the next coming days we will introduce the stories and pictures of our participants one by one.
Ana is eighteen years old and was born in Klungkung. Ana has been going to Sjaki-Tari-Us for one and a half years now. With his big smile and friendly face, Ana is the joker of the class. When Ana was a kid, he developed differently than other children. He was slow to learn to crawl and walk, and he didn’t start talking until he was four years old. His parents brought him to a traditional healer because they wanted him to be more like ‘normal’ kids. He went to kindergarten for one year at the age of seven, and then primary school for three years after that. After three years, the headmaster told his father that he couldn’t follow the classes because the classes were too difficult for him. He then spent a few years at home before he started going to Sjaki-Tari-Us. Ana used to go around the village a lot. Sometimes people would bully him because he was different from the others. People would gossip that he couldn’t do anything and that he was crazy. When Sjaki’s Got Talent (a talent show at Sjaki-Tari-Us) was organized, he danced the Barong. His father was so impressed and proud of his son that he bought a Barong outfit for Ana. Now Ana dances the Barong during ceremonies. The people in the village admire Ana now. He is no longer bullied, and people always ask for his help at ceremonies. He also likes to play Gamelan every Saturday. When Ana returns home from school, he helps around the house with cleaning and taking care of his grandfather. He spends more time at home now and enjoys the time with his family. Ana is someone with a very special personality and we can learn a lot from him. When he likes something, he dedicates himself to it completely and no one can stop him. We even saw this while working on this Photo Project. Ana was so enthusiastic about making the pictures that he directly asked us for a camera as soon as he saw us.
This is the favorite picture of Ana because this is the Barong outfit his father bought for him. Now Ana is dancing during ceremonies in his village.
The father of Ana is his big example for his life.
Ana is very enthusiastic about the Balinese tradition and is always ready to help.
Read the story of Romi tomorrow!