In her long-term project Pipeline, Paris-based photographer Elena Perlino draws focus to women trafficked to Italy from Nigeria,80% of whom come from Benin City.
How did you decide to focus on this particular subject? “Commuting every day in the North of Italy for job reasons, I had noticed the surreal presence during the winter of young African women, sitting half naked in the snow. I had to deal with it. If you are a photographer you use your camera to filter the world and understand it. The following step was walking with my M6 in the middle of the countryside, trying to talk to a few women, between a client and the other.”
I’ve recently had folks contacting me from across the country, even all around the world, about the upcoming documentary Whitelandia: Black Oregon/White Homeland (a play on the popular show Portlandia), which purports to explore the history of racism and white supremacy in Oregon. It currently is in the production stage, having publicly put out a trailer and launching a successful kickstarter program to fund it.
People having reached out to me about this film for several reasons. One is that I present a public program called “Why Aren’t There More Black People in Oregon: A Hidden History,” which features an interactive timeline I developed looking at the history of race, identity and power in Oregon.
But people also reached out to me because up until just a few weeks ago, the Whitelandia trailer featured clips of me speaking on this topic. Folks assume the footage of me means I have signed off and given my support for this project. It’s a good assumption to make - unfortunately in this case it’s dead wrong.