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Translations by Sofie Knijff October 11, 2010

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One Response to “The Character Of Their Dreams”
  1. Inspiring work crossing the borders between reality and fiction, between theatre and photography. Great great great.

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About Translations

“Identity” is a dominant theme within Sofie Knijff’s work. A recurring element is the question, “To what extent do our surroundings influence our identity?” Within her work she creates a “theatrical space” in which different realities and stories can be projected. Within this theatre, illusion and reality mingle. Over the past year Sofie Knijff has been travelling through South Africa, India and Mali where she portrayed children within their “fantasy world,” isolating them from their surroundings and the influences of daily life, allowing them to transform into the character of their dreams. Photographs of the spaces where these children are living in were added, creating a dialogue between the world within and the outside world.

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About Translations, continued

Part of this series has been created in the Malian village of Hombori, that is situated between Mopti and Gao and populated by around three thousand Dogon people. Rural Mali is undergoing an exodus, people are moving to the big cities. Recent draughts have intensified this development.

Those who stayed behind have to overcome great problems. There is severe poverty and high infant mortality rates. The surviving children receive a very basic education, there are insufficient classrooms and teachers.

Young children have to participate in daily duties such as fetching water. This reality affects the dreams of the children of Hombori. Many of them would like to become a physician or a marabout (witch doctor). For them life is all about surviving and a physician or marabout can make the difference.

In India, Knijff focused on the big cities of Delhi and Varanasi. Indian culture has different layers and an emerging middle class. Here, some children dressed up as businessmen. One wonders if this the child’s dream or its parents’. By contrast, street children, having been exposed to a lot of violence, dream of becoming policemen or soldiers.

In South Africa, Knijff worked with children in a black township near Johannesburg, with children of the poor white community and with Islamic children.

Referring to the expectations and beliefs people hold on to, one wonders what became of their childhood fantasies, making the “fantasy world” theme universal and timeless.

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