CABINET: PEP BONET
In the Cabinet space, which will be used for presenting projects established within the Es Baluard collection from now on, for the first time 8 photographs by Pep Bonet (Colònia de Sant Jordi, Mallorca, 1974) are presented, all of them from the series “One Goal” (2002-2007). The pieces of this research work by the well-known Mallorcan photojournalist are based on one of his long-term projects focussing on showing the consequences of the war in Sierra Leone, using images of youngsters and children with amputations caused by the RUF (Revolutionary United Front) rebels.
An intense work which takes up the formula of the photography greats in black and white again, where each frame by the author is not innocent, but actual evidence of a denouncement, revealing the subtle frontier between the document and the visual cry to express cruelty and injustice.
The series shows sequences from a football match on the amputees’ field of Aberdeen near Freetown beach, a place where people suffering from the effects of the Civil War that began in Sierra Leone in 1991 come to, exiled from their homes and families. From these instants randomly captured between sport and therapy, in the year 2007 the history and the experience of pain is reconstituted in the face of the consequences of an armed conflict with an aftermath that is difficult to erase.
“ONE GOAL” SERIES
In 2002 Pep Bonet was selected by the World Press Photo Foundation for its Masterclass and performed the work Faith in Chaos, a photographic essay centred on Sierra Leone, a country plunged into Civil War for eleven years. The project flows through 8 stories, notably the “Kissy Mental Home”, dedicated to the Kissy Hospital, a psychiatric centre where different people with all types of psychotic disorders are hospitalized in deplorable conditions, some of them even chained up, in a denunciation of the situation of hundreds of thousands who suffered from these disorders as a result of the war and were given insufficient treatment. Another set of photographs from the project, “Blind Faith”, revolves around the Milton Margai School, a centre devoted to blind children, some of whose blindness was caused by the rebels. With them, a third group of images comprising Faith in Chaos is the “One Goal” series, represented through 8 photographs in Es Baluard’s permanent collection.
“One Goal” focuses on the football league in Freetown, made up of boys and teenagers who underwent physical amputations as a result of the civil war triggered in 1991 by the government and the rebels which lasted until 2001. Thanks to the NGO Action for Children in Conflict, a camp for people who had undergone mutilation was created in 2001; in spite of their impediments, every one of them became a veritable example of effort, playing without the help of prostheses. This was how “SLASC”, the Single Leg Amputee Sports Club, came into being. Its foundation encouraged respect and discipline amongst its members, training facilitated their bodily movement, it brought them moments of joy… In short, football became a kind of therapy and at the same time was the way to achieve the peace that had been absent from the country for eleven years. The images show different moments of the team, the numbers of which gradually grew until reaching the figure of 22 players; at first they would meet on the football pitch but later on they moved to the beach, where the terrain was easier for them to play on as the sand softened injuries. Kalone, one of those portrayed who played as a forward; the trial of two youngsters in the National Stadium to see which one of them was the fastest; the pre-match prayer; the warm-ups before playing or the game itself are the moments captured by Pep Bonet with his camera.
In 2005 they managed to obtain financing to take part in the Amputee Football World Cup in Brazil thanks to the development and influence of this work by the Mallorcan photographer. In 2007, Sergi Agustí filmed the documentary One Goal, the doc from the basis of the work carried out by Bonet between 2002 and 2007, which was also presented in the publication released that year under the same title.
- Listen the lecture of Pep Bonet and musician José Bautista, delivered at Es Baluard on July 4, 2013.