In august of 2015 photographer Rebecca Fertinel was invited to a wedding by her friend Tracy Tansia. Here, Fertinel was introduced to the warm, unabashed life-approach of the Congolese community in Belgium and the Bantu concept ‘Ubuntu’: that you really only become human when you are connected to everything and everyone.
In Fertinel’s photographic documentary, the concept of Ubuntu seems to intertwine with the desire to belong to a group and maintain a group identity in a changing environment. Focused on the joy and the ritual and not on a need for a perfect venue. This project wants to place the viewer inside an environment that most have experienced at one time or another for a wedding, party or a wake. A place where the emotions are what is important and the flaws of the room overlooked.
Everyone in a similar situation has experienced the desire to connect with certain traditions on the one hand, while simultaneously feeling different and no longer seamlessly connected with the old culture on the other hand. ‘Ni congolais, ni belge.’ Within the group, the individual feels strong, but outside the group he or she will feel lonely and deviant. We need each other.
See, everyone is looking for a place in life. That is the beauty of Ubuntu.
Winner Unseen Dummy Award 2018