Queensland College of Art students have immersed themselves in the Goan way of life to document a shared experience in storytelling, with an exhibition to be launched in Brisbane this month.
Students studying photojournalism, documentary practice, film, and design joined with fellow students from The One School Goa in India for 21 days to find and capture visual stories from the small Indian state.
According to Queensland College of Art Senior Lecturer David Lloyd, who led the group alongside Associate Lecturer Angela Blakely, the students were looking for ways to transcend the obvious and the commonly understood.
“Each student immersed themselves into a particular aspect of Goan life and, in doing so, many became invested in the life of those whose stories they sought to tell,” he explains.
“What follows are their stories, but on a grander scale it is also reflective of their own lives in storytelling, of making a difference and ultimately of safeguarding the civility of our existence.”
Angela agrees, explaining that in all of the student work there is an inherent desire for humans to be better than we are.
“It is this grace, created by the millennia of storytelling that defines human potential and while we can’t be sure that this will ever be achieved, it is this visual storytelling that will ensure we keep trying.”
It’s a theme that student Marissa Descovich embraced wholeheartedly while documenting nine people, young and old, as they each held something dear to them.
“What is it to be human? To most the answer can be found in the way we feel and act during pivotal moments in our life,” she says.
“It’s the way we love, the way we hurt, to be intimate, to have emotions, to have feelings, to be different and to be the same.
“Through reading these images of nine people we begin to know something of what it is to be them.”
Pran Kositthanakorn who captured the fisherman of Goa, talks of his time with the men and the role they play in the region, describing the markets in particular as “a sensory challenge”.
“Overwhelmed by the smell – something I’m told you get used to with time – I watched as the fish were cleaned and gutted with the precision of a skilled assassin,” he explains.
“Whether it is large or small scale fishing, working on trawlers that travel the Arabian seas or simply a dig out in the backwaters of the state, Goa is defined by its fisherman.
“As the tourists eat the catch, few understand the enormous engine that drives this industry.”
A two volume Eyes on Goa book series featuring the stories that each of the students captured will be released at the exhibition opening 6pm – 8pm, Wednesday 15 June.
The excursion was partly funded by The New Colombo Plan mobility grant and the AsiaBound grant.
The QCA students who travelled to Goa included Emiliana Clark, Matt Dennien, Miriam Deprez, Marissa Descovich, Heather Tichowitsch, Sam Gill, Dan Hodgson, Lachlan Johnston, Nicholas Jolly, Pran Kositthanakorn, Robert Lang, Nicole Paulsen, Krista Perryman, Marc Pricop, Pascale Schmid, Rachel Shapiro, Shaun Singleton, Tahlia Stehbens, Quinn Taylor, Christina Trovato, Susanna van Aswegen, Eliah Lillis, Sara Wihlborg, Jay Yam and Cindy Yohana.