Virginia Ryan and Her "I Love You" Exhibition: A Photo-Journey through Côte d'Ivoire's Grand Bassam

Thousands of photos for just as many lives spanning from the heart of Africa to Italy and around the whole world.

Virginia Ryan, an artist born in Australia but also of Italian citizenship and based in Cote d'Ivoire, tells the story of people that in the last 20 years have lived their life in it's city of Grand Bassam.

Ryan presents a multitude of images found in the many photographers' boutiques scattered around the city, that as a consequence of ubiquitous digital media are now closing.

Items like photos of births, weddings, important events or simple memories (bringing along with them the tradition of photography) a fundamental yet contemporary element of African culture.

The collection has the meaningful title "I love you", that is also written on one of the pictures she found.

Ryan has retrieved an huge part of the history of the city without any censorship or selection: all the pictures that risked to get burned or thrown away have been purchased by the artist and put together to give a complete vision, without any exclusion, of what happened in Grand Bassam from the 90s to 2012.

Images hanged on horizontal strings like little flags that remind of the ancient tradition of the migrants and their relatives of keeping long laces of cord - each from an extremity, from the harbor and the ship about to depart - to symbolize a strong bond, that the journey wouldn't be able to break.
Ryan's aim is to bring her audience to reflect on what combines their lives with those that are part of different and distant cultures from theirs, by showing snippets of daily life of people that aren't so diverse after all.