Argentina (Buenos Aires)
In Argentina, the term ‘villa miseria’ is used to describe the impoverished shantytowns that exist within large urban settlements. And in Buenos Aires, Villa 15 is one of the city’s largest and most notorious slums.
In 2000, photographer Martin Rosenthal was taking pictures of a soup kitchen in Villa 15, also known as ‘Ciudad Oculta’ (Hidden City). Approached by children who were curious to know what he was up to, he was inspired to create weekly photography workshop ph15 – taking the ‘ph’ from ‘photography’ and ‘15’ of Villa 15.
Run since 2006 by co-directors Moira Rubio Brennan and Miriam Priotti, the respected Buenos Aires-based ph15 Foundation uses the resources of the visual arts – especially photography – to foster new expressive capacities, communication and techniques in at-risk children and young people in vulnerable situations. Workshops and activities are designed to promote social integration and socialisation of the artistic experience.
Ten students join the project for a year, often staying on for a number of years. Each week students take photos and then bring the images back to the ‘talleristas’ (workshop facilitators) to be discussed by the students in a democratic process.
The non-governmental non-profit organisation is made up of a group of people who believe in art as a valuable resource that allows humans to develop their creative abilities, even in adverse or hostile reality. From this perspective, artistic expression is proposed as a practice that enables full externalisation of being and generating transformative processes, both individual and collective.
ph15 have published a book, run workshops in some 90 locations across the country, held a 15th anniversary exhibition and expanded to Buenos Aires’ iconic Villa 31 shantytown. Some participants are now photographers or have started their own workshops.
Watch ► Founders Moira Rubio Brennan and Miriam Priotti explain saying things without words.
Moira Rubio Brennan has a degree in photography and has assisted various expression and photographic technique workshops with renowned Argentinian photographers.
Moira Rubio Brennan and Miriam Priotti