flowers and children are testimony

Photography is his great love. A passion that drives her to make reports on topics of public interest. Her eclectic gaze has e.g. made her document through images the 2020 lockdown imposed by the covid-19 epidemic and the reopening of restaurants and pubs in the very first week of what was called “phase 1”, the slow return to normal. A trip to understand how the world of public establishments had reorganized to reopen activities and what was the customers’ approach to the new phase of “freedom” after lockdown. After the covid, another exam is to be taken, with the hearts of the whole world torn apart by the images of Vladimir Putin’s bombs. And Evelyn Poggiali, known in the area as Evelyn Joyner Photovision, graduated with honors in sociology, specializing in maternity and children with a background in social policy studies, decided to try out a new photographic project that would highlight “universal peace”.

“I organized a social inclusion project with children aged 2 to 11 with the theme of peace and war – he begins – especially children from different ethnic groups are involved. But I did not stop at the simple photoshoot. A video thanks to the cooperation of professionals from “Faenza and Ravenna in Photography and Video Production. This video was sent to Save the Children, which recognized its value and the ability to raise funds for the humanitarian association.” The video maker from Faenza, Ilaria Negrini, the drone Gabriele Randi, the photographer Dario Bonazza and an animator from Faenza, Elena Cavallucci, who prepared the questions for the children and made a play area available for interviews. The project is called “A flower to the world”.

“A flower for the world”, what a beautiful title Evelyn. When was the idea born and how did it take shape?
I had this idea in mind for some time. What made me concretely realize this are two factors: On the one hand, a personal research, because I myself needed to transform the anger I had inside for a personal disappointment, into a positive message and a teaching; moreover, my background in sociology studies and my photographic passion have found strength to express themselves with the events of the war that broke out in Ukraine, although it is not the only war we can mention. So I thought about posting through not only my photos but also an entire video project recently released on Youtube, “A Flower to the World, Evelyn Poggiali”, a message to society, regardless of any external or internal war.

A project that is anything but simple to set up. How was it organized?
The organization was the most complex aspect. It sounds funny, but I was looking for kids of different ethnicities in the most diverse ways. Will be asking in the squares, in ethnic restaurants and shops, on all social networks and Facebook groups and word of mouth. I thought the pictures were not enough for this project, but I found professionals from the Ravenna and Faenza area to collaborate in this good cause. I would therefore like to specify the names: Ilaria Negrini video editing; Gabriele Randi drone; Elena Cavallucci tatafata play areas, storytelling and animation; Dario Bonazza photographer collaborator and me for the idea, the organization, portraits for children. In addition, the organization has seen various other elements such as getting all parents to agree on the day of the event and operators; create paper flowers and color them all with phrases about peace; look for adequate space for safety and comfort for children and parents; analyze and decide questions for interviews. As well as a strategy for promoting the project.

How many children did you manage to involve? And where do they come from?
About twenty children attended from 2 and a half to 11. Children born of Italian parents and born of mixed parents: I had two Ukrainian children who saw the war with their own eyes; a girl from Montenegro; Cape Verde; three Italian-Asian children, children from Ghana, a child also with Down syndrome and Italian children with foreign somatic characteristics precisely to demonstrate that even within the same nation there may be completely different genetic characteristics.

The pictures have one common denominator, a colored paper flower in hand. What’s the point?
The flower represents simplicity to me. When I as a child saw someone arguing, I thought that throwing the petals of a flower was enough to pass any quarrel and lead to forgiveness. So I thought that with my project I would like to have seen how children with their simplicity are able to solve problems more than adults sometimes create. I thought what peace meant, and in every colored flower I cut out, I put what peace means in different facets. “Peace is solidarity, forgiveness, friendship, responsibility, etc.” A paper flower was chosen and not a real one for not giving the idea of ​​tearing something up with the root from one’s land.

What did he read in the children’s eyes when he took the pictures?
The kids were curious and I read a lot of spontaneity in them. Especially among the Ukrainian children who saw the war, something was perceived differently. A streak of melancholy in the largest. I can not forget these eyes and I can fully understand them. A child needs to be carefree and able to think about playing, nothing else.

The image you carry in your heart?
The picture where all the kids are having fun and playing together while Elena (the animator, red) is making giant soap bubbles on her playground that she has made available to us. Every single child has left me something of its own: something very fun, spontaneous and nice.

From photo to video clip. What made you extend the project?
I felt that this was first and foremost a social project. Not just a photographic project. In this case, I had to make the children’s voices heard in order to fully convey the message. That’s why I contacted Ilaria Negirni from Faenza, who as a volunteer immediately supported me, and we discussed so that the video fully reflects what I wanted to say.

What has this initiative taught you?
This initiative taught me that sensitivity combined with art can create something amazing together. It taught me that total strangers can believe in your ideas because your enthusiasm is so strong that it is an example to society.

What is the goal you want to achieve?
We received an initial recognition from Save The Children Italia, which recognized and shared the importance of the project, and we support fundraising for the “Stop the war on children” campaign through the savethechildren channel. I would like to be able to upload the video for the week of Good Life in Forlì and on other social occasions precisely to make the project widespread and usable concretely for a good cause and not leave it alone on social networks. Gradually also make an exhibition with my shots. I’m working on it so it can take shape and so many people can know it.

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