Views of Cali, Colombia can be seen through the perspectives of children and artist alike in exhibit “Colombia: Nuestro Pueblo” at the Third Street Gallery at 58th N. 2nd St. from Oct. 3rd to 28th.
The exhibit was the brainchild of Temple alumni, Tony Rocco. Rocco traveled to Cali to teach children and families how to “tell their stories with photographs.” He then presented their best work in Colombia and Philadelphia.
Alongside the families and children’s photographs sit Rocco’s own photos. Rocco, a native of South Philadelphia, recounts how he began to explore his Colombian heritage at the same time he was taking a Temple class that awoke his talent and passion for photo.
“At 20, as an undergraduate at Temple, I took my first trip to Colombia. It changed my mind about what it was to be Latino,” Rocco said.
Simultaneously, Rocco took his very first photography class.
“It all began with a TU Center City photography class.” he explained as his eyes scanned the photos around the room. “I have used photo to explore my heritage.”
Following his time at Temple, Rocco has continued to explore his heritage through photo and began the non-profit Cameras for Colombia, an organization that brings cameras to communities that otherwise would not have access to that technology. The organization then teaches children and families how to tell their stories and represent their thoughts through photography.
“I begin in the neighborhood, and most of the time I even go house to house” Rocco said about his teaching experience in Cali.
In addition to his work in Colombia, Rocco will also bring the same program to children in North Philadelphia to have them engage in a conversation with the families and children in Cali through photography.
Regarding this exhibit, Rocco said, “This is the result of bringing cameras – this is the world as these kids see it. North Philly kids will respond directly to these photos. These kids are the ones to teach the new generation.”
The exhibition is free and opened last Thursday for special late-night hours to accommodate the working class in Philadelphia. All of the proceeds from “Colombia: Nuestro Pueblo” will benefit Cameras for Colombia.
The gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday.
Kyra Taylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org