At the Emmaüs welcome center in Porte de la Chapelle, in Paris, on a winter evening, Zaman – a young Afghani arrived wearing bermuda shorts and flip-flops after walking for sixteen months from Kaboul – asked if in the pile of used tennis shoes which were presented to him, there would not be rather a pair of “not ugly” sneakers… like Jay-Z’s.
And that’s on this simple question that the exhibition oriented its gaze. What role do their clothes play? These clothes they wear, that belonged to others. What they mean to them. What they denounce, betray, protect (not just from cold and rain). Afghans, Sudanese, Eritreans, Malians, Guineans… most very young men, each of them chose an outfit from the second-hand clothing offered, then each took the time to explain their choice. Why these shoes, why these pants shape, this coat color.
Then two photographs, Frédéric Delangle and Ambroise Tézenas, took their portrait. Around fifty photos “to the room”. Private moments, sometimes funny, sometimes serious.
A 2’5’’ movie has been created by Sylvain Martin to showcase the singular approach of portraits around the question of clothes and what they represent for the exiled.
« Sneakers like Jay-Z » has been successively presented at the Festival Circulation(s) du 104, exhibited this summer at the Rencontres d’Arles (Luma’s Fondation), in October at la Quinzaine Photographie Nantaise, then at the Freestyle Festival 2018 at La Villette in December (La Grande Halle).
The project received the First Price at the OOSHOT Award and a special recognition at the Prix de la Photo Caméra Clara for Frédéric Delangle & Ambroise Tézenas.
A 60 pages catalogue was also produced in tabloid format. It is sold 10 euros, which go to Emmaüs Solidarité.