An important question in my research was, to what extent does your environment determine your identity? I tried to answer this question through staged photography. Staged photography can make history visible in a new way, by showing a different reality, or by bringing different aspects of history together in a single image. I wanted to research how the people of Moengo see their past and its ramifications for the present. To what degree do they feel they are influenced by Moengo’s past? Is that influence a hindrance, or rather a benefit? I wanted to find out what their ideals are, and to what extent their identities are still determined by the environment that they inhabit, whether consciously or unconsciously. The series of photographs that was created to answer these questions, was the result of input from my research and conversations with the inhabitants of Moengo.
Large prints of the photographs were placed by Moengo’s town entrance.
To research identity, I worked with five young people from Moengo, creating performances in which they portrayed stories about the events that shaped their identities most. This resulted in poems, monologues, songs, and dance acts. These performances were part of the Bending Benchmarks presentation in Moengo, on June 1st, 2019.
Part of the audience was brought over from Paramaribo on a bus that had been chartered specifically for the occasion.