Interviews

Jarrad Seng – Spirit of The Maasai

August 31, 2014
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Over the last year I’ve had the opportunity to meet and get to know some of Perth’s most talented humans, Jarrad Seng being one of them. What fascinates me most about his art is that he doesn’t just capture that fleeting moment but is able to capture the entire story behind it. And with his latest exhibition opening soon I wanted to find out a little bit more about the experiences behind the lens. For his third solo exhibition Jarrad Seng travels back to Tanzania to capture theSpirit of the Maasai and their simple way of life while unearthing the many personalities that lie within the children of this unique tribe.

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jarrad-seng-spirit-of-the-massai-the-essentialist-blog3Seng’s first trip to Tanzania was as a volunteer for the Ujamaa Children’s Home in 2011. “This was still in the early days when [he] had no idea what [he] was doing!” – some how I can’t believe that – and this trip gave him the opportunity to discover some new photography experiences, that he describes as “eye opening”. With life in Tanzania being so far removed from what you and I can relate to Seng said “whenever [he] travels to places like these [he] tries to do so in a socially conscious way, that will benefit the people [he] meets and photographs.

During his time in Tanzania he “fell in love with the children at the orphanage, and then became fascinated with the Maasai culture ” which has cemented a deep connection to this country, and so to share this journey his first solo exhibition Portraits of Tanzania was born.

jarrad-seng-spirit-of-the-massai-the-essentialist-blog4With years of experience under his belt Seng traveled back to Tanzania, and but this time to solely capture the many personalities that he saw emerge from the Maasai children. Although he has portrayed the children as “stoic little warriors” in most of his images, he says that “between these shots you see their innocence and joy shine through as well.” Seng also reveals that the language barrier acted as an icebreaker, having to “physically communicate with the children about poses and expressions led to a lot of laughter and special moments”.

Through this exhibition Seng hopes to showcase the simple and truly special “lifestyle that is being threatened by various forces, and play some very small part in helping to protect their way of life and at least raise some awareness and give people back home a glimpse into a world vastly different than their own”.

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The opening night is this Tuesday September 2nd, from 7pm – 9pm at The Hive, 192 William Street in Northbridge supported by Propel Youth Arts WA. But the exhibition will be running from September 3rd to September 21st from 11am – 5pm daily. Be sure not to miss this exhibition!

All proceeds from print sales will go towards Ujamaa Children’s Home Orphanage and Boma Africa – humanitarian organisations committed to breaking the cycle of poverty through education as well as helping to maintain the Maasai people’s traditional lifestyle.

Portrait of Jarrad captured by photographer Amelie Satzger in Munich. First two images by Jarrad Seng. All other photography by me. Xxx Nadine

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