Carolina Rapezzi

6x6 Europe Talent: Carolina Rapezzi, Italy

Carolina Rapezzi deserves more attention for her work.” - Heidi Romano, independent artist, curator, design consultant, and 6x6 nominator, Australia.

Carolina Rapezzi is an Italian photographer based in London. She focuses on long-term projects, covering social, humanitarian and environmental issues in Europe and West Africa. She has covered the refugee crisis in Sicily, Italy, and Calais, France, political protests in London, and migration stories in Ghana. She won 1st place, single image in the LensCulture Art Photography Award in 2019 and the Magenta Foundation Flash Forward 2019 award.

Burning Dreams

The scrapyard in Agbogbloshie, Accra, is one of the biggest electronic waste dumps in the world. Young people migrate to Agbogbloshie from Northern Ghana looking for economic opportunities, due to lack of education, unfortunate personal circumstances or the need for a quick income. The project looks at the economic underpinnings of this community, but also the community that exists there.

Despite the discomfort, stories like Rashida’s, a water seller; Gaffarou’s, a deaf boy whose hope is to find a treatment to be able to hear and talk again; and Salasi’s, a rapper eager to tell the world about life in Agbogbloshie; represent a generation facing the consequences of a failing disposal system, but not losing hope in pursuing their dreams.

A shipwreck has become a gathering point and a shelter for workers in the Kilimanjaro burning area. Gaffarou (17; center-left), from Savelugu, became deaf in his childhood. He couldn't attend school and can communicate only by lipreading and gesticulating. He has never been diagnosed by a doctor. His dream is to find a treatment to be able to hear and speak again. Salasi (20; center-right), from Tamale, arrived in Agbogbloshie in 2012. He is a rapper and has performed a few times at the Bukom Boxing Arena. His dream is to make a living out of his music. 9 November, 2018.

A bunch of computer scraps on a scale, waiting to be sold in bulk and be either reused or dismantled. Once dismantled they are brought to the burning areas to extract copper and aluminum. 24 October, 2018.

Gaffarou burns cables and picks metal scraps from the ash in the Kilimanjaro burning area on 9 November, 2018. Workers, including children and young men like Gaffarou, are constantly exposed to hazardous jobs without any health and safety regulation and, most of all, to toxic emissions coming from chemicals and substances contained in appliances, cables and wires.

Salasi (20), from Tamale, performs his song "10 Times" during the celebration of the birth of a baby in the Sodom and Gomorrah slum on 4 November, 2018. He arrived in Agbogbloshie after his father’s death in 2012. He started rapping and speaking about the difficulties of living in Agbogbloshie. He has performed a few times at the Bukom Boxing Arena and also in other local venues. 

It Was Meant to Be

Alexis Teijeiro (46), originally from Madrid, has been living in London for 15 years. She is the current manager of the Manolo Blahnik boutique in the ladies’ shoe gallery of Selfridges. She decided to transition to a woman in April 2017. 

It Was Meant to Be is an ongoing long-term project exploring the transition from male to female. The project aims to investigate an intimate story of a change that is not only a physical change, but also a slow, personal and unknown journey in discovering oneself, shaping a new identity and understanding how to relate to everyday life. 

Alexis putting back on a waist cincher after a body laser session on 13 April, 2017. She has worn a waist cincher for roughly one year, in order to shape her waist while starting the hormone therapy.

Uncertainty, doubts and frustration are common feelings during the transition. The pressure of working in a luxury environment is tougher for Alexis, as she is more exposed to judgements. Sometimes, simple actions like getting ready or doing her makeup can become reason of distress. 2 August, 2018.

Alexis and Russel were together as a gay couple for 15 years. They used to live together and they continued to live in the same house after Alexis started her transition. Russel accepted Alexis’ new boyfriend and they spent an evening together decorating the living room before Christmas, on 11 November, 2017. Every year Alexis starts with Christmas decorations in early November.

Alexis in front of a Selfridges window on Oxford street, after she finished work on 21 May, 2019.

See 'Burning Dreams' by Carolina Rapezzi on Witness

Discover work by the 6x6 Europe talents, and find out about 6x6’s nomination and selection process.