photography Paris la Métisse captures, in stark black and white, the cultural diversity of the romantic city
T he oldest image I remember of France was not the Eiffel Tower, but an artist in a woollen beret in front of an easel. It is like an entire nation has been genetically programmed to be artistically inclined. The latest exhibition that is on at the Alliance Francaise brings a Paris in black and white, a Paris that you have never seen.
“Paris la Métisse” is an exhibition by photographers Florence Batarière and Morgan Haël Jypsian. The photographs bring to life a Paris that is host to so many global cultures and traditions. We see a Paris that celebrates the Chinese New Year and Ganesh Chaturthi with as much passion as they celebrate their food and wine.
It was when Florence was studying foreign languages at La Sorbonne in Paris that she had travelled over Europe several times. One day Morgan was violently attacked by a Moroccan and to avoid extremist and racist reactions, they both decided to travel to Morocco by bicycle (3,000 kilometres) to discover this country and to symbolically relive the journey that inhabitants of this country used to undertake before them – from Morocco to France.
They documented this journey through their pictures, paintings and poems, which were presented at various cultural and artistic centres in France. Their pictures showed a generous and warm Morocco, in spite of the difficult life the people lived. This project was the beginning; this was followed by their other works that defend cultural diversity and tolerance between people whose origins and ways of life are different.
It was in 2004 that the two began work on “Paris la Métisse”, focussing on cultural diversity and its importance in the world. The exhibition will be on show at the Alliance Francaise, Vasanthnagar until May 15.
CATHERINE RHEA ROY