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ART CONNECTIONS: Brenda Kenneally’s Raw Photography

What is the image created by your imagination when someone uses the words ‘underprivileged kids’?

Have you ever wondered if that image has anything to do with reality?

When it comes to human beings, if it is not universally true that broad categories fail to be of any use, it is true in this case for sure. What are the stories you would expect to hear from each of the ‘underprivileged children’? Emotional abuse? Physical abuse? Sexual abuse? A random combination of the three? Incarcerated parents? Dead parents? Foster care? Chronic and acquired disabilities? Poverty? Drug addiction? Gangs? Criminality?

The reality is that each child has a unique story, comes from a different path of life, and might have experienced traumas, losses, homelessness, molestation… or might not. Is a desperately lonely child that lives in affluence but is emotionally abandoned by his family an ‘underprivileged’ kid? I would say ‘yes’: he is not provided with the basic need of love. So, not even income inequality can help define the category of ‘unprivileged’.

While Tom Tuohy and Cortez Alexander from Dreams for Kids – both interviewed earlier in this issue of Chicago 4 Community – offer each of these children an individualized second opportunity in life from ‘underprivileged’ to ‘social leader’, photographer Brenda Kenneally focuses on VISIBILITY. The artist helps us understand and shape in our mind a truthful image of the ‘underprivileged kid’ through the many faces, voices, and names, offered by her stunning and compelling art work. Brenda’s strength as a visual storyteller lies in her obsession with her subjects. The ‘underprivileged’ characters she portrays become her heroes: she follows them for years, documenting every single detail of their journey through life. Brenda Kenneally’s art work is the macroscopic lens through which we can see and witness what is invisible to the rest of the world.

When I met Brenda Kenneally in person over six years ago I was so inspired by her powerful work that I decided to apply for the Master of Fine Arts program that has made me what I am now. You can’t watch her photography and listen to her stories without being changed. Forever.

Andy&tata

Watch more of this project in its original website, THE RAW FILE

upstateGirls

Watch more of this project in its original website, UPSTATE GIRLS

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One comment on “ART CONNECTIONS: Brenda Kenneally’s Raw Photography

  1. gianluca
    February 19, 2013

    Very nice piece Clara with an insightful reflection on the being “underprivileged”.

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This entry was posted on February 12, 2013 by in 4. DREAMS FOR KIDS, ART CONNECTIONS.

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