Silvana Trevale’s ethereal images framework the hopes of Venezuela’s youth

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As the very first photographer commissioned as part of the Malala Fund’s Against All Odds commission series in collaboration with 1854 and Malala Fund , the Caracas-born photographer can document 16-year-old Katty — who dreams of becoming a physician amidst the country’s filled socio-political climate

“We, as women, are so powerful, ” says photographer Silvana Trevale , resolutely. “We are the door to the world. ” 

Trevale is originally from Caracas, Venezuela. Based in London since 2017, her Latin American origins are a fervent source of motivation, fuelling depictions of youth, womanhood, fashion, and everyday routine via intimate portraits and alluring scenes. Trevale is the first photographer to be chosen by Malala Yousafzai and her Malala Fund team as part of the Malala Fund x 1854 Against All Odds commission series, which will view a total of three females photographers create new function celebrating the strength and determination of girls around the world.  

© Silvana Trevale.

Co-founded by Malala Yousafzai in 2013, Malala Fund is a non-profit organisation which advocates for girls’ access to education. In Malala’s own words, the payment series in collaboration with 1854 “invites photographers in order to showcase girls as they are usually: strong, ambitious and filled with agency. ” Captivated with the intricacies of resistance and girlhood, Trevale is a fitting selectee for the first percentage — which will see the girl create an intimate portrait associated with Katty, a 16-year-old young lady from the Venezuelan beach city of Tacarigua de Mamporal.

Venezuela has the highest rate of inflation in the world. Together with frequent food and medical disadvantages, the country’s ongoing recession makes it a fraught place for young people, in particular, to reside: often , they do not have the resources to access higher education, and their own futures are mired simply by volatility and uncertainty. Katty –  who Trevale offers known for many years –  desires for being a doctor. But the girl comes from a big family, who’ve been “struggling financially for years. ” They cannot afford to support the girl; still, Katty’s ambitions to attend the University of Caracas, and build a career based on helping people, have not ceased.

© Silvana Trevale.

© Silvana Trevale.

Katty’s vivid eyes, “full of hope and love, ” are usually what drove Trevale to want to tell her story. “She has numerous reasons to be sad, ” says the particular photographer, “but she selects not to. ” Extending the sentiment of Malala Fund’s Assembly – a digital distribution and newsletter that amplifies the voices of young girls directly – Trevale’s proposed project is a chance to sparkle a light on Katty’s “ambition, hopes, and innocence, whilst [she is] immersed in a social, political, and economic crisis. ” Crucially, Trevale will contribute a portion from the commission fee towards financing Katty’s education, while using the ensuing work to raise awareness of her situation.

Trevale is no stranger to capturing the difficulties of youth in Venezuela. “The transition from their purity to the harsh forced maturation the young face in Venezuela intrigues me, ” the artist muses, highlighting on her ongoing and most extensive body of work, Venezuelan Youth. In the series, sensitive, earthy images of girls and boys are captured against backdrops of beaches, forests and jungle: their solemn gazes markers of dreams “diminished by their realities. ” Meant for Trevale, who knows first-hand exactly what it’s like to grow up in this climate, photography is an behave of solidarity: fusing harsh truths with beauty, reminiscence, and purity, in a visible language that is uniquely her own.

© Silvana Trevale.

© Silvana Trevale.

Similar sentiments prevail in Trevale’s latest series, Aproximaciones , commissioned by Aperture Foundation and Fujifilm US. Inspired by Trevale’s personal childhood memories –  namely weekends spent visiting the girl grandma in the beachtown associated with Mamporal (the same location Katty lives) –  the project explores notions of youth, relationships and closeness against different bodies of water. Ethereal portraits of young Venezuelans are set against the stillness and tranquility of aqua scenes: groups of boys enjoy games; a girl poses by ocean; a young sibling sits upon the shoulders of a brother. “Water is hopeful, ” Trevale explains. “It’s an opening. A relief. ”

Trevale studied photography at the University of Huddersfield, before completing a masters at Central Saint Martins in fashion image-making in 2017. With a client list including Save the Children, British Vogue , the Guardian and the Telegraph , her broader practice employs “fashion as being a versatile tool” while “[blending] it with documentary. ” For Comrades x Vogue Italia , for example , the girl collaborated with stylist Daniela Benaim to capture the love stories of migrants’ shift. ‘Comrades’ is a fitting phrase for Trevale’s practice: in Latin America, it describes a furtive sisterhood or even shared space of success. “As a woman, ” the girl says, “I continue to knuckle down to celebrate the strong women we are. ”

© Silvana Trevale.

Ultimately, through Trevale’s loving gaze, Katty’s inspiring story promises to amplify the messages at the heart associated with Malala’s mission: every lady deserves access to education. Each girl deserves control over her own future. And every girl’s tone of voice matters. “Like many of the women Malala Fund works with, Katty faces barriers to training that put the big desires she has for her future at risk, ” says Ayesha Shakya, Digital Product Manager pertaining to Malala Fund. “Silvana would like to call attention to the issues many young women in Venezuela face, but also capture their strength and joy. We’re excited to see the final photographs — and to hear from Katty about her living and the issues she loves you about. ”

© Silvana Trevale.

Hatty Nestor

Hatty Nestor is author of Ethical Portraits: In Search of Representational Justice. She gets been published in the Whitened Review, the Times Literary Supplement, Tribune, Frieze and other publications.

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