Born Somewhere

by Francesco zizola

  Angola, Luanda, April 1996, Street children. Numerous children mutilated by personal mines survive by begging in the city center.

Angola, Luanda, April 1996, Street children. Numerous children mutilated by personal mines survive by begging in the city center.

Born Somewhere portrays the lives of children in 27 countries. Francesco Zizola has spent 15 years documenting the condition of children around the world. From countries racked with war, like Angola, the Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq, to child laborers in Brazil and Indonesia, to Aids orphans in Mozambique and Kenya – from the alienated children of privilege in Japan, to the young entrepreneurs and actors of New York and Los Angeles.

  Brazil, 1994, Every six hours a child dies on the streets of Brazil. The "meninho de rua" (child of the street) is the symbol of Brazil's degradation.

Brazil, 1994, Every six hours a child dies on the streets of Brazil. The "meninho de rua" (child of the street) is the symbol of Brazil's degradation.

  Japan, Tokyo, May 1999.

Japan, Tokyo, May 1999.

Angola, China, Uzbekistan, Somalia, Bangladesh, Iraq, Thailand, Sudan, Libya, Kosovo, Kurdistan, Indonesia, Brazil, Kenya... Francesco Zizola travelled through numerous countries where he saw broken childhoods, bruised by the harmful stigmas of poverty, exploitation, illnesses, war horrors, genocides, drowned beneath the rubble of the worldwide mess. Violated, outraged, submitted and captive, facing the madness and disregard of adults.

  Indonesia, Malakka Straits, April 2001, Sularso shakes the dried fish from the net, readying them for packing.

Indonesia, Malakka Straits, April 2001, Sularso shakes the dried fish from the net, readying them for packing.

Young Indonesian boy held in slavery, exhausted, drowsy near his meagre fishery. Amputees, mutilated by landmines. Emaciated Africans children, decimated by famine, ethnic wars and HIV. Thai prostitutes, merchandise, traded, supplied to voracious appetites. Children of Brazilian megacities, surviving on heaps of trash. The frail ones, the pale ones, with appalled eyes, lost on the path of exile...

  Japan, Tokyo, May 1999, Boys reformatory. Teachers at Japanese public schools pick out children showing signs of deviant behavior and report them to the police. The police then places the students in reformatories, where the stay averages 1-2 years.

Japan, Tokyo, May 1999, Boys reformatory. Teachers at Japanese public schools pick out children showing signs of deviant behavior and report them to the police. The police then places the students in reformatories, where the stay averages 1-2 years.

  Guatemala, Guatemala City, 1999.

Guatemala, Guatemala City, 1999.

  Uzbekistan, Khodjely City, 1997, Uzbek children plays in the court of the Republican Recover School.

Uzbekistan, Khodjely City, 1997, Uzbek children plays in the court of the Republican Recover School.

Francesco Zizola disrupts our certainties by unmasking the lie behind the idealised concept of blessed childhood. Cute little pathetic doll, stupidly disguised. Baby in a nappy under the spotlight, tiny girl ridiculously trying to imitate a beauty pageant contestant, little Japanese militarily lined up before the school. Treated as objects, clever monkeys. Deprived of time to grow, freedom seems to be taken away by those dress-up plays.

Zizola manages with this story to compare and contrast childhoods, and show that children are all the same, but their lives will be marked by where they were born.

 

Deprived of time to grow, freedom seems to be taken away by those dress-up plays.

  Italy, Milan, 2000, Casting for a diaper television commercial.

Italy, Milan, 2000, Casting for a diaper television commercial.

  Angola, Kuito, June 2002. A girl running in front of a building which used to be the school.

Angola, Kuito, June 2002. A girl running in front of a building which used to be the school.


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