Last year I had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala to shoot a project for the non-profit endpoverty.org. They give out small business loans to hard working, poor individuals and families around the world to free them from poverty. Its an incredible experience to witness these people with so much joy, excitedly telling you about how their business has saved their lives, given their kids and education and held their family together through what would have otherwise been an impossible life.
During that trip I met a woman named Maria and her two little grand daughters. What a beautiful soul this woman has. She finds old parts of dolls in the dump near where she lives, washes and stuffs and sews them back together to resell them. I can only say that this series really unfolded right before my eyes. The beauty of her reconstructing something that has been lost is wonderful and the meaning this business has for her family is not lost on me. Nevertheless the series becomes a fascinating oscillation between the innocence of childhood play and the haunting stares of a broken childlike representation. I found at times I wanted to laugh at the ironic and comical absurdity of a doll, like a disgruntled child, getting its face scrubbed clean. At others I couldn't help but feel attuned to the symbolic nature of broken children in a world of poverty. The erie stares of the dolls and pieces littering the ground are a striking metaphor that left me frustrated, disturbed and feeling helpless. Its wonderful to know that an organization like endPoverty is fighting to offer some help to children like these all around the world. Like Maria who takes her time to reconstruct and give new life both to these dolls and the children who eventually receive them, endPoverty fights to help desperate people find freedom and joy in a life outside of destitution.
Enjoy the series!