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New exhibition aims to honour and celebrate extraordinary women

All Areas > Entertainment > Culture

Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Friday, 28th February 2020, 09:00

Danielle Salloum Danielle Salloum

Danielle Salloum is a photographer and filmmaker.

Born in the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, Danielle and her family moved to England in 2004, and settled in Cheltenham.

“We moved to Cheltenham because we had family here,” she explained.

“My uncle Arthur Hindmarch was very instrumental in convincing us to settle in Cheltenham. When we moved to this beautiful town, we had never seen snow, far-less felt the cold.

“I feel very lucky and privileged to have two unbelievably strong connections with these two completely unique countries; they have sort of allowed me to gain a consciousness on diversity and ways of living.”

Danielle was 11 years old when she first came to the UK, following a childhood spent exploring rainforests across the Atlantic.

But despite the cold, Danielle says coming to Cheltenham developed her passion for the creative arts and especially photography.

She continued: “England opened my eyes, especially in the art world where my perspective changed drastically.

“Seeing paintings in real life by the great artists, studying the brush strokes and details up close and realising that art could be whatever you want it to be and could be aimed to actively make people think, feel, question and change. The arts and creativity have always been a constant in my life and photography was introduced very early too.”

She attended Cheltenham Ladies’ College, before going on to do an Art Foundation Course and then Press and Editorial Photography at Falmouth University in Cornwall.

“Through my degree,” said Danielle, “I developed an innate sense of passion towards portraiture and documentary photography.

“I wanted to raise awareness about many modern controversial issues from human rights and social equality, to the struggling environment and the rise of veganism. Mainly through artistic interpretation and portraiture I aim to bring exposure to the stories that I feel strongly about, that are often underrepresented in society.”

After university, Danielle returned to Cheltenham and joined The Wilson Arts Collective, which gives opportunities to young creatives to exhibit their works.

Danielle moved back to Trinidad last year but kept in touch with the group, leading to a new exhibition which will open this month.

“The idea came to me in early January 2019 as I was seeing and hearing stories of women doing incredible things throughout the islands,” she said.

“I wanted to do something that would allow me to give back to Trinidad and Tobago for all it has given me. International Women’s Day was coming up and as a feminist, Sisterhood was birthed.

“I wanted to highlight the many diverse, extraordinary women of Trinidad and Tobago. Glancing into the lives of these selected women, I saw how these inspiring individuals are making a difference, both in big and small ways.”

‘Sisterhood’ features the stories of an array of women from Trinidad and Tobago, from lifestyle bloggers and environmental activists, to the country’s first female President, Paula May Weekes.

The initial project took Danielle around two and a half months to complete.

“These women were speaking but not necessarily being heard loud enough,” she continued.

“I wanted to give them a platform. I read voraciously, asked other Trinbagonians of outstanding women within their lives and compiled information, making a list of the women and stories from all over the twin islands.

“I contacted them, inviting them to be part of my exhibition and every single woman agreed. I then met, photographed and heard the stories of each of these amazing females and got to know them personally.

“It is a true life experience to meet a person, hear the details of their personal journey and witness how incredibly strong and happy they have become because or in spite of it.”

After initially exhibiting Sisterhood at The Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago in the capital Port of Spain, Danielle will be bringing the project to Cheltenham.

The exhibition opens on Friday 6th March, to coincide with International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March, and will feature new stories of women from around Gloucestershire.

Danielle added: “I hope that paying tribute to the multi-dimensional efforts and beauty of women will empower others across Gloucestershire and the UK as it did in Trinidad and Tobago.

“The women chosen to represent positive change in an array of fields from human rights activists to women in sports, business, art and education.

“The exhibition features accomplishments and advancements, through individuals and movements, reshaping our present for the future.”

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