Nominated by Chiara Bardelli Nonino (Photo editor of Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue)
Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, Silvana Trevale’s portrait based work is a fusion between documentary and fashion. She seeks to celebrate the intrinsic beauty of the human body, her Latin American roots, womanhood, youthhood and the realities of people around her. The escalating crisis in her home country motivated her to produce the series “Venezuelan Youth”, which was presented at her solo show at ThePrintSpace in London and Vogue Italia’s Photo Vogue Festival 2020. The photographer has returned to Venezuela every year since 2017 to document the lives of women, teenagers and children in a time of economic, social and political unrest. Through the progress in her MA, Trevale has taken a closer look at her family. She collaborated remotely with her grandmother Rosa and her mother Maria to research and communicate the story of the women of her family. A love-letter to Latin American mothers, Silvana takes pride in honouring her personal heroines –powerful, beautiful and strong women like grandmother Cayetana. Who was mistreated by her own family for her skin colour and due to her bastard origins. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Silvana was not able to travel to her home. Without leaving London, she evokes childhood memories, and the ocean, the sun, and the warm of the people in Venezuela.
Since 2017 I have returned to my home country of Venezuela every year, exploring the lives of the youth and their daily struggles. Traveling outside Caracas, the capital, I met a number of subjects and families who I shared time with in order to gain a more intimate insight into their realities. Apart from being intrigued by the the children’s constant shifts from a state of playful naivety, hardening into a more rigid, stoic attitude to their lived realities. I would often be drawn to the connection the subjects I photographed shared between one and other. The love and companionship many of the young share with their brothers, sisters, families and friends is what often makes their realities liveable. They are not only are they confronting the extreme food and medicine shortages that have caused the death of many around them, but also the lack of opportunities, leaving little room for hope, except for the possibility of leaving the country. With the images, I intended to create an abstract calming state I imagine the young feel between their innocence and a seemingly inevitable premature maturation.