When you put together activism, hope and photography, you’ll find the word HOPEN in the dictionary. We believe that discovering other faces away from your hometown will definitely change both you and the world. We’re connected – never forget that.✌
HOPEN @ Boa Vista, Brasil - Elisabete Maisão Photography
HOPEN @ Boa Vista, Brasil – Elisabete Maisão Photography

What is HOPEN then?

The HOPEN project was born of the need of photographer Elisabete Maisão to reconcile photography, her profession, with humanitarian aid. After a year of volunteering and photographering in refugee camps in Europe, the Middle East and Brazil, Elisabete created HOPEN for the purpose of offering photography workshops in refugee camps. The project was implemented in Lebanon and Brazil and its methodology is intended to broaden the prospects for social development in the refugee camp, to give voice to the refugee applicant, and to encourage them through art to document their own stories and share them with the world.

HOPEN @ Beka Valey, Lebanon - Elisabete Maisão Photography
HOPEN @ Beka Valey, Lebanon – Elisabete Maisão Photography

What is HOPEN then?

The Hopen Turkey mission was conceived in partnership with Social Effects, a portuguese organization that supports, develops and manages humanitarian projects. Together they assembled a team to develop an action plan on art, education and memory production.

The Hopen Turkey mission consists of an expedition to refugee camps in Turkey for the purpose of social integration and empowerment of refugee applicants through practices and use of artistic tools.

HOPEN @ Boa Vista shelter, Roraima, Brazil - Elisabete Maisão Photography
HOPEN @ Boa Vista shelter, Roraima, Brazil – Elisabete Maisão Photography

The team intends to strengthen the human dignity of people who find themselves in these conditions and offer resources so that they can express, document and give visibility to the difficulties faced in the daily life of the fields.

HOPEN @ Softex Camp, Greece - Elisabete Maisão Photography
HOPEN @ Softex Camp, Greece – Elisabete Maisão Photography

The invisibility of the reality lived by refugees inhibit effective changes in this humanitarian crisis. The little news that comes through the media tends to emphasize terror and war, causing fear and stigmatizing refugees, who are seeking peace and a safe place to live.

HOPEN @ Softex Camp, Greece - Elisabete Maisão Photography
HOPEN @ Softex Camp, Greece – Elisabete Maisão Photography

The lack of information and access to these life histories is a barrier to generating empathy and social inclusion for millions of people fleeing the violence of decades of war.

Objectives of the Hopen Turkey mission

  • Take photo workshops for refugees
  • Work the photographic technique and the critical and cultural view of the place where they live and what is happening around them.
  • Create a platform on the internet so that refugees can expose their eyes on their own history (alternative media)
  • Collect refugee testimonials and messages
  • Produce 360 content, presenting new perspectives on the reality of the fields
  • Develop postcards with content produced in this experience, as a device that discusses borders.
  • Produce a documentary with the active participation of refugees in the production of content, script, and directing the look.
  • Edit book with the material produced, in which the refugees feel represented.
HOPEN @ Metro-Mangueira in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Elisabete Maisão Photography
HOPEN @ Metro-Mangueira in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Elisabete Maisão Photography

Who started HOPEN?

Elisabete Maisão (Lisbon) photographer and activist. She has began his photography career in 2006, opening his own studio, Nouvelle Photo. In 2008 she moved to Amsterdam, where he worked at the “EYE – Film Institute of Nederlands”, in 2011 launched the book of documentary photography, “Turning the wheels – Nepal”, and at the end of 2012 joined the Magnum team, assisting the photographer David Alan Harvey in the project “Offside Brazil” during the 2014 World Cup. Between 2015 and 2016 she went to several refugee camps in Europe and the Middle East, working as photographer and volunteer. In Lebanon she led photography workshops for children. In 2017 she made an artistic residence at Casa Rio, which resulted in the exhibition “On the Refugee Route” and led her to develop the HOPEN project in Roraima with indigenous refugees from Venezuela. She was the guest artist of the 11th Mostra of Cinema and Human Rights, where she exhibited the result of this mission under the title “Places of Refuge” at MAM – Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro. In 2018 she was a guest artist at the Encontros do Devir Festival, with the exhibitions “Refuge and Segregation” (Lagos and Faro) and “Paris Hoje” (Quarteira).

HOPEN @ Shatilla Camp, Lebanon @ Elisabete Maisão Photography
HOPEN @ Shatilla Camp, Lebanon @ Elisabete Maisão Photography

André Anastácio Plastic Artist and Researcher (PPGAV-EBA), develops his practice in the areas of hybrid technologies, circuit bending, sound art, sonification, interactive devices, and socio-political mediation. Collaborator of the NANO laboratory in hybrid sound plastic, he joined the collective Uoco (Sound Art), Bionics (digital experimentation), Zebra (Urban Art). He exhibited works in several spaces such as: Casa Rio, Casa Comum, CMAHO, Festival of Digital Culture, Casa Franca Brasil, Museum of Tomorrow, among others. Its process of creation usually makes use of the technology applied to certain contexts, to provoke reflections of the “imbricar of the dynamics and social relations” with the inhabited environment.

HOPEN @ Sindos militar camp, Greece - Elisabete Maisão Photography
HOPEN @ Sindos militar camp, Greece – Elisabete Maisão Photography

How can you be part of HOPEN?

The crowdfunding is on until the 20th of August 2018 (6:00PM WET). You can know more about the project and donate whatever you feel up to here.