Paolo Marchetti is one of the 50 best emerging photographers for 2015, as voted by the eight-member international jury for the LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards 2015. Here is his winning entry and his artist’s statement. View his profile to learn more about him and to see more of his great work.

Cite Soleil is one of the seven municipalities of Port-au-Prince and was born as a result of the depopulation of the Haitian countryside, supported by Delatour’s policy, who took over in ‘86 from Duvalier.

This political maneuver caused the subsequent rural exodus of thousands of Haitians, who were assigned to this area of the city, but without any infrastructure nor a prerequisite for socio-economic framework. This scenario made Cite Soleil the poorest municipality in Port-au-Prince — with about 70% of households having no access to a latrine, and unemployment affecting 50% of the population.

The UN considers this area as one of the poorest and most dangerous in the Western Hemisphere. The area has been called a “microcosm of all the ills of Haitian society” — the endemic unemployment, illiteracy, non-existent public services, the unsanitary conditions, rampant crime, and armed violence. This confused situation — one that that has typically characterized the history of the Haitian people — is now at its apex.

The Haitian people, the pearl of the African Caribbean archipelago, have endured several tough decades, dealing with extreme poverty and the devastation caused by natural disasters, plus the regimes of Duvalier and Aristide and the terror of the gangs used as an instrument of control in the territory. But the richness of soul and spiritual energy (almost supernatural energy) of these people elevate the society’s existence with dignity and nobility that expresses in a crystal-clear manner—the desire to live.

This project tells the dramatic conditions of Haitian society, dragged to the ground during the last decades by a ruthless dictatorship, and the ruthless speculation which compromised an already tortured population throughout its history.

Haiti is still suffering from the repression of the 1980s — suffering and dying under the eyes of the civilized world, a world ready to offer aid as a commodity, an investment that returns tens of millions of euros per year.

— Paolo Marchetti