"I really like the classes the foundation has because I learn a lot. Without them I wouldn't know English and I wouldn't have realized that I want to be an art teacher when I grow up."
- Dominik (San Mateo, 10 years Old)
A project by Beatriz Sokol and the children of the coast
How do you get to know the southern coast of Jalisco through the children who live in its villages? The voice of children is magical and scattered, exaggerated but true. It is capable of displaying the needs, difficulties, and delights of a community. When we speak to a child, we must listen carefully to their stories, read their codes like a game. We should read between the lines; since behind their words, there is a tangible and logical truth to adults. That simplicity that encompasses them during childhood is perceived in the spontaneity and openness they have when speaking and expressing their ideas, even if it is through stories full of humor and fantasy.
Throughout four months in the Costalegre, Beatriz Sokol has collaborated with boys and girls between 4 and 13 years old, presenting a workshop that twirled around the image as a narrative tool: capable of expressing, reimagining, and addressing the setting and individuality of the person behind the camera. The final result of the project is divided into three parts: the elaboration of a small book, in which, employing different techniques, each child captured their story, their illusions, and their dreams. Whether it was through games and pictures, or through fiction and creativity, the books aim to show the different accounts of children who coexist in the same town or the same region. In addition, the project reaffirms the value of the object and its ability to communicate by itself.
The photobook Desplumado (2021) was produced by Sokol during her stay on the coast. The fiction narrates what the children told her during the workshops. The artist dedicated herself to observing and listening to the stories about their villages, their families, and about their relationship with the surroundings, to then take their words, decontextualize them and generate a story that, although it does not speak specifically about any of these towns, is formed from the different legends, gossip, and stories that children hear in their day-to-day lives.
Finally, we present a series of photographs of various characters that the children created during the last sessions of the workshop. The invented wizards, superheroes, fairies, or witches have enough strength and power to repair and better all the negative features within their community, for example: paving the roads, keeping the town clean, avoiding floods and fires. These fantastic characters allow us to see the level of awareness that exists in girls and boys: they can identify the different problems that concern them as a community, perhaps now it is through magic, but in the future, they will be the ones in charge of that change, of that improvement.