Elena Givone

With her series Pazi-Mine, Elena Givone portrays the generation of adolescents born during the war, in the aftermath of the conflict between 1992 and 1996. Through her photographs, Givone describes what it means to grow up in a society that has been devastated, destroyed and is being reconstructed, and to be the constant victims of one great danger: landmines.

The images of Elena Givone’s Flying Away project go beyond the limits of traditional reportage. By using a transitional object, in this case a carpet, and involving the subjects in a game, the photographer breaks the usual mechanism that leaves us mere spectators of a distant reality. The artist offers the fantasy to fly away on the magic carpet and asks the the two girls to share their dream destination by writing about it in a small notebook. In this double portrait taken in a juvenile prison in Salvador de Bahia, the condition of deprivation of personal freedom suffered by the subjects creates a strong and touching contrast with the atmosphere of magic in which the photographer immerses them.

In this image from the series Secrets from the magic box – PHOTOGRAPHS FOR A CLEAN WATER Elena Givone portrays a little girl with a large water tank. The project, carried out in Mali in collaboration with an NGO, was designed to describe the situation in the country where, paradoxically, people are still dying of drought: despite the fact that the Niger River flows through the country, drinking water is still not available to the majority of the population. However, like in the picture, it is always the young women who have to provide it, transporting it with difficulty over long distances.

ELENA GIVONE combines photography with artistic practice and social activism. She conducts teaching programmes that bring together video and photography, working with NGOs in Africa, Brazil, India and Sri Lanka. Among her best known series are I segreti della scatola magica – fotografie per l’acqua (2010), the result of a workshop with the children of Dogon villages in Mali; Flying Away (2009), portraits of young people met while visiting the youth prisons of Salvador de Bahia and the favelas of Florianopolis, whom she puts in pose and interviews on an imaginary flying carpet; Dreams From My Magic Lamp (2012) in Sri Lanka, where she is currently working to create a school of photography. She won the award “Attenzione Nuovo Talento Fotografico FNAC” (2006) for the project Pazi-Mine in which she photographed the generation of teenagers  born during the conflict between 1992 and 1996 (Sarajevo 2006). *She was born in Turin in 1979, she lives and works between Turin and Amsterdam.