We, Prato – Youth in transformation

“I wish you to be a blossoming multicolored meadow
Where diversity is what matters,
Where different flowers are taken as one,
Blended to create brilliant new colors.”

(In the original poem, “meadow” is translated as “prato,” which is also the name of the Tuscan city).

an extract from “My Prato” by Yuan Wu Ning (from “Second generation”, stories from the literary contest “The city seen and experienced by Prato’s second generation people,” a project of the Province of Prato, in collaboration with Monash University, Piano B Edizioni, 2013, Prato).

The photographic project “We, Prato” looks at second generation young people of Chinese origins and their peers of Italian origin. The theme of the Chinese second generation young people in Prato is a current and critical issue which has not yet been deeply studied.
The majority of people of Chinese origins under 25 years in Prato were born and attended schools there. They study in Italian, speak Italian, eat Italian food and in most cases feel that Prato is their home. When outsiders meet this community, their first question is often one of identity, and there is no clear answer.

The images of the project “We, Prato” portray 16 young people aged between 16 and 28 years old in an environment which they have chosen and which is, in their opinion, a symbol of integration and development. The faces of the subjects are sharp, while the background is out of focus. Places of integration are important, but they have no value if there is no activity and presence of young people. The work has been shot in black and white using silver gelatin film and printed on fiber-based paper. Thanking to the the Scheimpflug technique (typical of movable large format photographic cameras) the focus area is just on the faces of the person depicted.

Every subject was asked to name three terms that could go in association with the word “integration”. The results are certainly interesting and also give us some indication of the personalities and their instinctive rapport with the theme of integration.

These images are not meant to give an answer. They will remain as a document of the current situation.

All photographs were taken in Prato between March and May 2014.

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