Filipe da Rocha – A Part of Us
Exhibition from July 2nd to September 23, 2018
A Part of Us” is the photographic project of a toponymic odyssey across the United States, which, using only city names as a guiding thread, allows us to explore the nation’s international roots of, at a time when its borders are closing. The title “A Part of Us” contains the project’s two focus points of the project, and its duality. The first captures American cultural diversity as a whole, from East to West, and North to South. The other produces images that, paradoxically, will remind us that this country is ultimately an immense worldwide immigration puzzle. Filipe’s trip starts in Amsterdam in the state of New York and ends in Avignon, California, passing through cities that can be found across the five continents; Moscow, Sydney, Johannesburg, Berlin, Damas, Tripoli, Pekin, Bethune....
The European continent, including the United Kingdom and France, is well represented. The origin behind these city names reveals a collection of peculiar stories. They deserve to be collected in the same way as images are captured. Evidently, we find in them an amusing homeland nostalgia. Such as Paoli in Pennsylvania or Corsica in South Dakota. Past conflicts between England and France over this territory also contributes to its strange mapping.
"Each time, I’d like someone to tell me about the city’s history, how it got its name, and what it says about its past." Napoleon City in Missouri is just a few miles away from Wellington, named after the victorious general at Waterloo. There is also Calais and its inhabitants, descendants of immigrants, whilst Calais in France has become the symbol of controversial and conflictual immigration. Most of these stories have been left forgotten, leaving only their town name as a clue to their history.
About the Artist
Filipe da Rocha is a French photographer born in Coimbra, Portugal. A master of light and shadow, da Rocha’s work skilfully uses a pictorial approach to documentary projects. After working as an illustrator alongside Hector Obalk, the magazine Tecknikart commissioned him to produce a series at the frontier of fashion and documentary about “castes” or street people - gardeners, car tuners and the gay community within the French rap scene. As a fashion photographer he collaborated with international magazines, including Elle, Marie Claire, Vogue Japan, also working on advertising campaigns for Yves Saint Laurent Men and Azzaro Couture. In 2010 he left fashion in order to devote himself to his photographic projects. In Lille he produced "L'Amérique en Nord": an immersive series of portraits about American rock’n roll culture in Northern France, photographing groups of people influenced by American culture and condensing the result into an inventory of dress, music and lifestyle. « A Part of Us », highlights his continued exploration of a world influenced by contemporary American literature. His artistic work, authentic and un- retouched, aims to go beyond the simple re-transcription of reality. Throughout his diverse projects, Filipe explores time, travels across frontiers, and freezes motion to reveal another side of reality.