PDN Photo of the Day

African Theater

Patrick Willocq’s project “On the road from Bikoro to Bokonda,” which he created by photographing villages in a Western province in his native Democratic Republic of Congo, was recently awarded the Prix AFD, given by the French Development Agency. The project, Willocq writes, “is a testimony of everyday Batwa Pygmies and Bantu life in the province of Equateur.” Willocq directs the villagers in his photographs to create “Africain tableau,” which is concerned with “human relationships and the role of women and men, the role of the forest, nourishing heart but under daily pressure from the villagers and, traditions still entrenched but sometimes disappearing in favor of more westernized tools and behaviors.” “I also wanted to witness the peace that prevails in the West, with the complicity of the villagers themselves [as] actors committed to contributing to our project,” Willocq adds. “A different reality than the Eastern Congo, a reality that Western media regularly focus on and, although dramatic, stigmatizes the whole country.”

Willocq collaborates with the villagers on more than just photographs. In addition to his photographic work, Willocq leads “community-based and fair-trade tours” for people who want to meet with the villagers. He writes: “I have always been struck by the beauty, simplicity and dignity of daily life, despite all the hardship they face.”

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  1. Well done approach in telling a story of a group of people in a very classy manner. The colors in the pottery are striking and the surrounding landscape frame the photographs.

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