“Christine Sawunda is one of the first Ugandan skateboarders. This now-twenty-year-old girl lives in Kitintale and loves the magic feeling of riding on a skateboard. In the last two years, she has also become a famous local singer, performing almost every week at the Obama Club, next to the bus station in Kitintale. Through skateboarding, and without government help or support by any organization, the teenagers of Kitintale have managed to ward off boredom and the negative effects caused by the poverty of their daily lives. When they are on their “Fantasy Island,” which is their skate park and their pride and joy, the skateboarders are not far from paradise: they feel freedom and a sense of community which allows them to dream and have prospects for the future." —Yann Gross
Swiss photographer Yann Gross is passionate about skateboarding. Encountering group of skaters known for having built the first and only half-pipe in Uganda, in Kitintale, the popular suburbs of Kampala, Gross is immediately seduced by this vernacular infrastructure and the integrative function it plays among the local youth. he finally becomes a full-fledged member of the group, to the point where he even co-organizes the first skateboarding contest in the African Great Lakes region. Kitintale thus goes beyond mere documentary narratives, trendy clichés, or paternalistic discourses and offers a humanistic account of contemporary Africa.
Yann Gross lives in Switzerland where he graduated from ECAL (École Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne) in 2007. He was awarded the PhotoEspana Descubrimientos ("Discovery") prize in 2008 and was the 2010 winner of the International Fashion & Photography Festival in Hyères. In 2010 Kitintale was exhibited at the Bredaphoto Festival at the Museum Breda in the Netherlands as well as the Photoforum Pasquart in Biel, Switzerland. His book Kitintale was a winner at the Hyères 2010 International Festival of Fashion & Photography and received the Swiss Federal Design Award, and was listed among the best books of 2010 by Photo-Eye.
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