I-Week photos capture faces of inclusion and exclusion

(Edmonton) What does inclusion look like? Or exclusion? That was the open-ended challenge for photographers in this year’s I-Week photo contest, open to staff, faculty and students of the U of A as well as the greater community. Twenty finalists were selected from 60 entrants who explored the cultural, political, physical and emotional dimensions of what it means to belong.

“I think we got some great photos this year,” says the U of A’s global education co-ordinator, Carly Szanik. “People submitted a paragraph explaining why their photos represented the theme. In some cases I had to wonder at first, but once I read the blurb, I thought, ‘OK, I get it.’”

Marcelle Kosman’s “Hebron,” for example, is a case in point. It might be tough to see the idea of exclusion at first glance, but the photographer explains that his photo depicts a Palestinian marketplace in Jewish-occupied territory. The chain-link netting over the roof is meant to “protect the Arab Palestinians from the garbage and other objects sometimes hurled down upon them by the settlers up above.”

The first-place winner of the contest is “The Road Ahead” by Ruth Vilayil. Second place went to “Life on Wheels” by Fahim Hasan, and third place to “Caught” by Erika Luckert.

An exhibit of the photographs, called Inclusion and Exclusion, is running at Enterprise Square until Feb. 27.

All of the finalists are shown in the video above. Here’s what the photographers had to say about their entries (in order of appearance):

Celebration, Atiqul Islam
After Bangladesh won the Cricket World Cup against England in 2011, this man found himself fully participating in the celebration of sport, team and nation.

Even After Death, Carly Szanik
This is an image of a wealthy family’s gravesite. This beautiful building, with its glass panes and artistic gate, sits directly beside the broken-down mass graveyard of the Sandinistas who fought for peace in Nicaragua during a bloody civil war.

Life Alone, Chantel Bowden
I find this photo ironic in regard to inclusion and exclusion. This marine creature lives its life in its single burrow, popping out to feed then retreating again. While they can be burrowed near to one another, there is no communication between them; essentially, they form a community of isolation.

Carpooling, Diana Coumantarakis
A common sight in Latin America, community members from Chajul, Guatemala, pile into a pick-up in Nebaj, to transport people, materials and animals. It seems that no vehicle is ever so full that they cannot fit uno mas.

Education, Diana Coumantarakis
Teachers hold amazing power to inspire—and when they do, the world begins to shift. This classroom in Calgary is well on its way to creating a community of engaged and active global citizens who understand their rights and responsibilities for building an inclusive and positive world.

Calgary Protest, Gregory Sawisky
A Calgary woman of no fixed address participates in a demonstration against the City of Calgary's proposed panhandling ban in October of 2005.

Hope, Imran Kabir
This man is working hard to build hope for his future, family and dreams—something that in the developing world frequently proves to be difficult, if not impossible.

Life, Imran Kabir
As she makes her own journey through life, this woman is including others in her traditions by displaying her traditional dance and culture.

Slip and Slide Bliss, Kirsten Jette
This photo was taken at a play day in Thailand where student volunteers created two giant slip and slides. Without student volunteers' lead, the children came up with a way that allowed everyone to enjoy the slip-and-slide fun all at once. Forget about individual turns, let's all take our turns at once!

Mea Shearim, Marcelle Kosman
This is a sign found in Mea Shearim, an orthodox neighbourhood in West Jerusalem. The neighbourhood maintains strict dress codes, helping to determine who is within the community and who is simply passing through. There are constant struggles to maintain the exclusivity of this area from tourists and secular Jews.

Hebron, Marcelle Kosman
This is the old market in Hebron, Palestine. The street is lined with Arab shops but above, the houses have been taken over by Jewish settlers. Hebron is a segregated city, where the military maintains and expands Jewish settlement, restricting Palestinian access to the city, street by street and building by building. A chain-link fence has been installed like a canopy above the street. It's there to protect the Arab Palestinians from the garbage and other objects sometimes hurled down upon them by the settlers up above.

Curling Into Sleep, Matthew Wilson
In Lisbon, Portugal, this street throbbed with busy noises—construction, tourists, and people shouting. Everyone around was busy but this poor, homeless man who existed in exclusion. Ignored by the people around him, he curled up and tried to escape from the outside world.

Small Hands, Big Hands, Matthew Wilson
A baby monkey sits in the palm of Buddha’s hand, in Boudhanath temple, Kathmandu. As the monkey grasps at how big the Buddha's hand is, I ponder the manifestation of the Buddhist philosophy that all living beings are equal, welcome and connected to one another.

Belonging, Nancy Hannemann
In the Yoruba culture of Nigeria, wearing the same cloth on special occasions expresses social identity and solidarity; this cloth is named aso-ebi. Sometimes the manufacture of a design is commissioned for an occasion such as the enthronement of a traditional ruler or to support a particular political party during an election campaign. The fabric is often sewn in different styles, allowing for the expression of individual identity within the context of social cohesion.

Leading the Way, Rabia Bana
Inclusivity is the hallmark of a good leader. To lead is not merely to have others follow in your footsteps, but to create a path with the help of others around you, and to walk that path together.

In the Rain, Timothy Yu
This photo was taken in the middle of Mong Kok, one of the busiest districts in Hong Kong. I really enjoy looking at people’s reactions through a reflection. I feel this image reveals the life of a person “in the big city”; that is, someone looking to find a sense of belonging within the chaotic, non-stop pace of a massive city such as Hong Kong.

Who’s Afraid of Ai Weiwei?, Timothy Yu
This photo was taken amidst a city-wide protest against the “election” of Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-Ying in 2012. The streets were flooded with thousands of protestors and media outlets. Not knowing what I was getting into, I started noticing that many of the student protestors had been sporting t-shirts, with the question: “Who’s Afraid of Ai Weiwei?” For many of the young protestors, Ai Weiwei represents an antagonistic force against an insular, illiberal government in Beijing. This ex-British colony is searching to find its cultural identity within its ancestral motherland of China.

Third place: Caught, Erika Luckert
Fences keep out more than the people that they intend to exclude. Here, in Grahamstown, South Africa, the razor wire caught a plastic bag instead of an intruder.

Second place: Life on Wheels, Fahim Hasan
I was in Dhaka, Bangladesh, conducting a study on vulnerable people in urban areas. The stark contrast in the scene caught my eye and made me realize the sheer divergence in lifestyle. It’s not that I am unaware of inequality or the bountiful desolation of everyday life, but this photograph seems to be a visual reminder of that.

First place: The Road Ahead, Ruth Vilayil
This young man appears to be deep in contemplation and solitude. Considering the dense population of this part of the globe, it is significant that he has found a place without others immediately around. He has excluded the press and throng of his usual world to find a moment to dream.