GOMA, DR Congo, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- For Arlette Bashizi, a 21-year-old rookie yet somewhat famous photographer in the DRC, the photo gallery is more about a journey to unravel the enigma and have a fresh mindset on the roles played by the minority groups, including the disabled.
"We want this photo gallery to question and challenge the perception of our community towards the disabled," Bashizi told Xinhua, confessing that some people who don't suffer as the disabled tend to have some kind of "disablism".
"Take myself as an example, when I was little, I thought that the disabled are people who have to beg for living and don't have the ability to work. When I grew up, I come to realize that it was such a incorrect perception," she said.
The gallery, under the theme of "No Limit", featuring photos of disabled men and women shooting hoops, doing artwork, working to pay the bills, puts spotlight on the limitless possibilities of the people that tend to be shackled with stereotype and prejudice.
"This is why, we (photographers of the gallery) work on this project to focus on the professional perspectives of the disabled," said Bashizi, calling on people to follow her lead to challenge and change the stereotype against the minority group.
"As we tour to different neighborhoods, we hope different communities to follow our lead to challenge and change the stereotype against the disabled," said the young photographer.
As a female photographer, Arlette focuses her lens on minority groups, including the disabled and women, by setting an example to chase her dream and fulfill her potentials.
After high-school, Arlette started working, but did not feel fulfilled by the "dead-end job" she did. Given her strong urge to inform people as a photojournalist, Arlette started at the local photography atelier and began to pose her works on social media, where she soon made a name for herself.
For her, victims of stereotyping, women are often viewed as "supposed to please society and follow its norms without any objections." Arlette experiences these stereotypes first-hand, as she had to address them at the beginning of her career.
"When I first started, everyone would tell me that photography is not for women." Instead of being discouraged, Arlette saw this as a challenge, worked hard and gradually gained people's respect in a male-dominated profession.
To combat stereotypes, Arlette believes that minority groups "must be included in the process of sharing their stories." There is no better way to convey their stories, than by letting them narrate it by themselves.
To help bring change, the image of the DRC also needs to change. "I prefer to show the perspective of hope," she affirms. Despite not turning a blind eye to the problems of the country, she wishes to showcase a different side of the DRC; that of a nation making steps forward; that of bold young people creating and becoming entrepreneurs; that of strong women working diligently, and taking life in their own hands. Enditem