1st Place, 'Chosen [not] to be' by Marinka Masséus
This series is part of the Radical Beauty project, an international photography project which aims to give people with Down’s Syndrome their rightful place in visual arts. The young women I worked with shared a strong will to succeed. To prove themselves. It must be beyond frustrating to be underestimated all the time. With ‘Chosen [not] to be’ I reflect on their reality - the barriers they face, society’s refusal to see their capabilities, the invisibility of their true selves - and translate their experiences visually. In the Netherlands, people with Down’s Syndrome have collected their experiences in a book, called Zwartboek (Black book). They have offered this book to the government as a catalyst for change. Reading the collection of stories in this book broke my heart. There is so much misinformation. This misinformation leads to misconceptions and widely held preconceived notions which profoundly impact the lives of people with Down’s.