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93, Terre De Mixité

© Stephan Gladieu

The 93 is a French department located north of the capital. It is especially known for being where the French state has piled up the emigrants who arrived in successive waves according to our need for manpower.

This population lives in housing estates, on the other side of the ring road. This department starts two meters from Paris but the ring of the peripheral still constitutes a mental barrier so much that these zones were considered second class. The lack of transportation, economic development efforts and real educational policies has taken more than 30 years to develop and even today the gap between these suburban areas and the urban centers is glaring.

The human, cultural and economic wealth that 93 contains is unjustly misunderstood, as the department is often confined - in the media in particular - to a land of news stories, insecurity and poverty. With this conviction in mind, in 2010, I proposed to create "93 Terre de Créations" within the framework of a call for tenders for public order for Plaine Commune a community of communes which brings together 9 towns of the 93.

This photographic collection of portraits makes places of history and culture dialogue with contemporary artists. It was exhibited at the Stade de France in 2011 and at the Gare du Nord the following year.

During this project, I was marked by the fabulous social, cultural and ethnic mix that makes up the identity of this territory and makes it so singular. Since then, I had hoped to bring to light, the richness of its identity character.

And it was in 2019 that I realized 93, Terre de Mixité, a photographic collection of portraits paying tribute to the ethnic-demographic diversity of this territory which counts 136 different nationalities, a record in France.

This project won the Plaine Commune call for tenders, which proposed a photographic carte blanche with hanging on the outside gates of the Stade de France. The exhibition, originally scheduled for March 2020, was postponed indefinitely due to the health measures in force.

Like pieces of a puzzle, these faces make up the face of Plaine Commune. Altogether, these women and men, one with the other, each at home and all on the same territory, draw the future of our present. My wish was to look at this reality and pay tribute to it, by putting these different cultures on the same level, literally and figuratively, in equality and fraternity offering everyone the freedom to be themselves.

The identity of the individual is the recognition of what he or she is, by him or herself or by others, in the image of a face-to-face.

click to view the complete set of images in the archive

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