We Belong Here
by Bob Newman

project STATEMENT

We Belong Here is a long-term project about the Irish Travellers (aka Pavees), an ethnic minority that has lived on the fringes of mainstream Irish society for hundreds of years. Theirs is a traditionally itinerant, closed society with a rich culture—whose members endure some of the worst discrimination in Europe: in housing, employment, health services, and education. This series focuses on traveller children and their lives.

Portraits are the anchor of the project—taken to show my respect for who they are and to earn their trust. I seek to capture the humanity of the Travellers, as expressed in these words by a Traveller poet, “We are not searching, we are not lost, we belong here.”

Positive images of the Pavees, which experts say children need in order to thrive, are often lacking in broader Irish society. By exhibiting the work, I set my sights on bringing the Traveller community into the world conversation about discrimination and racism. We Belong Here is a gentle body of work—one that aims to create change through compassion. I believe in the power of photographs to help build this kind of understanding.

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