By Sera Tikotikovatu-Sefeti
A sports photography exhibition currently on show in Suva, The Digital Land of Games, pays homage to the various landscapes that sports touch.
The exhibition, which you can see at the Alliance Francaise, is a crossroads between sports and culture, and also serves as a prelude to the Olympic Games, to be held in France in 2024.
Alliance Française Executive Director, Manuel Bettoni, explained that four athletes and sportswomen were chosen for photographic portraits, and paired with four different photographers.
“This exhibition is a lot about inclusivity because you have two Paralympian, athletes; one represented a transgender athlete as well; he was born a woman, became a man, and is now a boxer.
“There is also one [athlete] from Mali, who is now living in France, and who had to struggle during her life more than the French people would, and she became one of the most famous boxers in France,” Bettoni says.
The objective behind the exhibition is to emphasise inclusivity and diversity in sports in France and everywhere in the world.
Featured in the exhibition are:
Patricio Manuel, photographed by Maia Flore
Maia Flore captures Patricio Manuel in photographs taken at the isolated heights of the Los Angeles landscape. The portrait with his face covered by a shadow and the collage of Manuel as he throws some practise punches, allows viewers to place themselves in the moment, to feel and experience his journey through the lens of the photograph.
Manuel was the first transgender man to box professionally in the United States. The 37-year-old California transgender athlete won a national amateur boxing championship for men in 2016 and was a five-time national amateur boxing championship for women between 2006 and 2012. He continues to box and fight to legitimise his place among his peers. The boxer is committed to changing mentalities, especially in young people, and spreading the message that they can be whoever they want to be.
Marie-Amelie Le Fur, photographed by Magali Lambert
The photographs of long jumper and track star, Marie-Amélie Le Fur successfully capture the essence of the Paralympic medalist. Starting with various prostheses, the images represent Marie’s many journeys in life and carries her commitment to equality. The image of her daughter and her trainer’s hands represent the strength she draws from those close to her as she navigates life’s challenges—the strength to fight for access to sports for young people with disabilities.
Arnaud Assoumani, photographed by Adrien Selbert
Arnaud Assoumani was born without a left forearm, but he defeated all odds by becoming a paralympic medalist, specialising in the long jump. The athlete invests in many projects aside from sports and is driven by energy and curiosity without limits.
Aya Cissoko, photographed by Françoise Huguier
Aya Cissoko is a French and English amateur world champion boxer of Mandingo Malian descent. Her fighting in the ring ended at the age of 26 because of injury, but her fight against racism and defending the right to self-determination as an individual and as a social group continues.