FROM TRASH TO TREASURE: turning negatives into positives

Synopsis

 

Lesotho
Photo courtesy of Ed Suter
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FROM TRASH TO TREASURE: turning negatives into positives — directed by iara lee (Cultures of Resistance Films)

In Lesotho—a highland country surrounded by South Africa—an artist named Nthabiseng TeReo Mohanela takes discarded materials and transforms them into unique clothing and accessories. Teaching young people the benefits of recycling and re-creation, she calls her project “From Trash to Treasure.” With TeReo’s work as a starting point, this short film showcases a broader spirit of reimagination among artists in Lesotho, who use creativity to respond to entrenched social problems: Filmmakers show the need to end child marriage. Musicians write songs about climate change. Farmers collect seeds to protect endangered tree species. Designers use fashion to preserve traditional Basotho culture and challenge common perceptions of Africa. Profiling a variety of these innovators, FROM TRASH TO TREASURE: turning negatives into positives encourages us to take lessons from those who rethink, reuse, and reinvent in order to promote positive change.


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These images show a series of collaborative portraits, featuring embroidery by women unable to leave their homes in India due to their husbands or fathers, some of whom are domestic abuse survivors. The works are from a project called “Nā́rī” by Indian artist Spandita Malik, a finalist for the Inge Morath Award from the Magnum Foundation. Malik’s practice involves expanded documentary with the idea of decolonizing the aesthetic surrounding documentary photography in India.Our sister foundation, the Cultures of Resistance Network, has been proud to support the Magnum Foundation in the past, including their efforts to amplify socially-conscious photographers from the Global South. The Magnum Foundation’s Inge Morath Award is a grant made each year to a woman or nonbinary photographer under the age of 30 to support the completion of a long-term documentary project. ... See MoreSee Less
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