FILE PHOTO: Fifteen-year-old Mamadou Doumbouya, a Talibe, or Islamic student, holds a begging bowl in front of a wall of graffiti in Senegal's capital Dakar,REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

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Senegal: Senegal’s Street Children Turn Trauma Into Art In Africa’s Biggest Show


 

Young men who were compelled to ask in the city for Islamic educators have transformed their agony into craftsmanship, as they join in excess of 1,000 specialists demonstrating their work at Africa’s greatest and most established biennale workmanship presentation in Senegal this month.

About 50,000 kid poor people known as talibe live in religious schools called daaras in the West African country, as indicated by rights gatherings, who say some were trafficked from neighboring nations and numerous are beaten and manhandled.

“Being in the daara was like being in prison,” read one caption for an image of a sorrowful eye peering through a row of fingers. “My friend’s hands represent the feeling of being locked up.”

All of the photographs in the “Look at me” exhibition – which is part of the Dakar Biennale, known as Dak’Art, founded in the 1990s – were taken by and of street children living in a nearby shelter run by Samusocial, a charity.

Most children who come through the shelter are former talibe, while others escaped forced labour or family disputes, said Samusocial, which provides medical care and shelter while attempting to reunite them with their families.

“For me, the colour red is like pain,” said another caption, describing a photograph of a boy, known as D.D., wrapped in a coloured cloth.

“I put it in the background because it’s in the past.”
In plastic sandals and bright T-shirts, the boys walked down the street together to visit the exhibition. They gazed wide-eyed at the photos printed larger than they are.

“I am happy,” said D.D., 16, who worked in a sewing shop for several years where he was regularly beaten. “I didn’t expect to see this,” he said of his photograph.

Samusocial often uses art and music to help the children build confidence and open up, said director of operations Isabelle Diouf.

“These children need beautiful things. It takes them out of the realities of the street a little and makes them want to move forward,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Spanish photographer Javier Acebal, who worked with the children on the exhibit, said he hopes it will change viewers’ perceptions of beggars.

“When you’re walking down the street you think you know about these children, but in fact you know nothing,” he said.

“They say they want to be like normal kids. I hope people start to think about that.”

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