It Was Never Personal
420 x 297 mm
In discussions about racism, discrimination and exclusion of ethnic minorities, people of Asian descent are rarely mentioned, let alone their voices heard in those discussions. It is therefore good that the media now reports about Asians who are being discrminated during the COVID-19 pandemic. This hate against Asians was there long before this pandemic, but now people apparently feel justified to express these emotions, which Tanis himself also experienced recently.
As a baby Tanis came to the Netherlands and grew up with his adoptive parents. He grew up in a white neighborhood and went to white schools. His Asian appearance was always different from that of his parents, family, classmates and the people he saw on TV. Tanis knows what it's like to be discriminated against because he is not white. As a teen he went consciously looking for people with whom he could identify, but there weren't any role models who looked like him. He has always been very aware of being different.
Many of Aram Tanis photo series contain images of advertisements with beautiful people and combines these with images of misfits and people who do not meet this beauty standard.
For It Was Never Personal, which Aram Tanis is currently working on, he is photographing torn, mouldy and discarded advertisement posters, that still have elements of this ideal of beauty companies wanted to sell, but at the same time they show the decay, the dirty and the ugly of reality. Now during the corona crisis, the posters are no longer replaced in a number of places, so the decay goes further than usual.
It Was Never Personal (work in progress) has been exhibited at Nida 2019 (Vilnius / LT), Fabrica (Brighton / UK) and is published on Der Greif and F-Stop.