This body of work, all colour photos taken from 2014 to 2019, is an interpretation of the iconic movie “Casablanca”, and its legendary soundtrack “As Time Goes By”; It is an ode to nostalgia, sentiments and blurry memories. The artist experienced a sense of freedom whilst photographing the incredible architecture, people and everyday life, with some kind of serenity, recounting the overwhelming emotion that she felt the first time she visited and continued to feel with each return visit.
Curation and Exhibition text from Nicolas Pascarel.
This exhibition took place at LCC in November 2022, as part of the Graduate Show for UAL MAPJD students.
Esperança is a visual project focused on the island of São Tomé. It is a vivid portrait of a forgotten Lusophone Africa, yet unaccustomed to development and tourism. São Tomé & Príncipe, is a remote island nation in the Gulf of Guinea. The Portuguese established a thriving cocoa economy and built over 150 cocoa plantations, known as roças. São Tomé & Príncipe became renowned as ‘The Chocolate Islands’. Today, the former legendary roças, with an architectural legacy are mostly in ruins, and in danger of disappearing. The roças are the keys to understanding the past and the present of this unique afro-creole society.
Esperanca is an ongoing collaboration between Nicolas Pascarel and Heba Mansour, who travelled to São Tomé, in 2019 and 2021. The photos tell a story of the legacy of the roças , the daily life of their inhabitants and its unique unspoilt sublime nature. Their aspiration is to cast attention on a remote island, totally forgotten.
The photographers are searching for a patron to continue this wonderful adventure, and share the unknown heritage of the chocolate islands.
I’ve always been inclined to a rose-tinted perspective. So, with plenty of stories of human afflictions, saturating the media, I contemplated alternative narratives to all the impending doom and searched for my own utopia. I had an urge to escape the perils of routine, explore what it means to be alive, and capture simple sentiments with my camera. There’s no better place to start this therapeutic artistic endeavour, I thought, than upon the summit of the sacred Sarandib Mountain, to see in the dawn of a new year.
Sarandib – Serendipity – coined by the Arabs when they landed by chance on the “Island of Jewels”, represents the art of unexpected discoveries that bring benefit or happiness. The enchanting notion of ‘serendipity’ was my newfound inspiration for photography and my constant quest for silver linings.
These photographs depict content fleeting moments and serendipitous encounters. All the photos (with the exception of the invitation) were taken in the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ Maputo, Mozambique, in the spring of 2019, during a full immersion Photo workshop with my photography maestro, Nicolas Pascarel. For me Maputo is a serendipitous place, with an intriguing history, often a smiling people, still unaccustomed to mass tourism. We were as exotic to them as they were to us. It’s a place where the architecture is eclectic from Late Modernism, art deco, to simple adobe thatches. The genius architect Pancho Guedes founded in his own Utopia in Maputo, formerly known as Lourenço Marques, He once said: “I claim for architects the rights and liberties that painters and poets have held for so long”.
The affinity I have with the subjects of my photos – the places and the people – are often despite not speaking the same language. Photography has allowed me to share a universal language of feelings; it’s opened a creative window to share with others how I choose to see the world: with a sense of inquisitive innocence and laughter.
The benevolence of the people featured to allow strangers such as myself into their personal space is humbling.
Photography and serendipity have given me what vagabonding gave to Ibn Battuta:
“a hundred roads to adventure and gives your heart wings”.