“Life in and Beyond”, is my fifth photographic exhibition in Nairobi .
This visual project on Somalis’ life is once again my attempt at focusing on people’s dignity, courage and emotions, either evident or hidden below the surface. Somalia, a divided nation for over 15 years now, is a post conflict country. In recent months a new surge of violence is again devastating Mogadishu and many other areas in an internal conflict that is generating new victims, massive internal displacement, starvation and lack of the most essential primary services.
Since the fall of the previous regime Somalia, when not forgotten, has been framed in the eyes of the international community in the picture of a post conflict or war torn country, and by default Somalis, all Somalis, are perceived only as either victims of violence or perpetrators of violence living in a desperate continuum of abuse and death. In this dark continuum Somalis’ human faces have faded, have merged, or have been confused and lost. People’s everyday life, their thoughts and deep human emotions have been left behind the emergency of their primary survival needs, detached from their full human essence: The essence of human beings eager for life and love, dreaming of a peaceful future, captured in their work, lost in their own human thoughts, similar eventually to the thoughts of all people in this world.
“Life In and Beyond” is composed by 50 photographs, taken throughout Somalia from 2004 to 2008. This project intends to be a peaceful answer to the on going destruction, a model against violence, a reminder that the people we see are men, women and children in flesh and blood with emotions and affections and not just casualties of war.
These photographs and the captions that complement them are my personal effort to bring this depth of life to light, to have it breathing, resounding, echoing from the different layers of the images to the viewers’ heart. This project would like to take the spectators on an emotional journey In and Beyond the Life
forever frozen by the camera click, and have them listen carefully to the thoughts whispered through the photographs.
For Peace to be built, positive role models are needed, as well as understanding, compassion and the ability to see and listen. It is with the lack of these “emotional skills” that war and destruction prosper and create a numbness which easily obscures the gift of life and the spirit of the living. The photographs have been edited at the computer and they appear more like paintings; hence the crude reality acquires an evocative presence, in between body and spirit beyond flesh and psyche. Viewers are invited to look at them ever more deeply so as to capture their essence and innermost reality.
Giulio D’Ercole was born in Rome on February 17th 1961.
He graduated in Literature and Philosophy at the “La Sapienza” University of Rome.
From 1985 to 1997 Giulio worked in theatre, radio and television in Italy. In 1997 he moved to New York, where he was employed by RAI Corporation as Senior Producer. Here he participated in the production of many historical documentaries, entertainment, news and current affairs programs. In New York he produced numerous features on one of the events that changed the history of world policy: the 9/11World Trade Centre terror attack. In 2002 and 2003 he was employed as Executive Producer by Globalvision and Rossellini & Associates for the production of the Award-winning documentary “The Hole in the Wall” and other documentaries produced in Italy and the USA. In 2003 Giulio moved to Nairobi to found “Canvas Africa Productions”, a media house focusing on the production of documentaries and photo reportages on social related matters. With his company he has already produced 20 documentaries for several UN Agencies (UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO, UN-OCHA, ILO) and for international and African NGO’s (CARE, WVI, IYF, SNV, FAWE, PFP etc.) and he has worked for international TV channels such as BET (USA), CBC (Canada), La7 (Italy).
Giulio D’Ercole has a vast experience of traveling and working in Somalia since many of the documentaries mentioned above where produced in that country and because he worked as a Media Consultant and Project Officer with the Italian Cooperation (2004) and with UNESCO (2004-2006) in Somalia on projects regarding Civic Education for Peace and Development, Female Genital Mutilation and HIV and AIDS. Recently he chaired the jury at the 'Kenya International Film Festival 2007' (KIFF).
More information on Canvas Africa Productions and its activities is available on: www.canvas-africa.com