The Fotografiska for Life exhibition Spirit for Change reflects the possibilities for change, demonstrating that destructive poverty can be creatively transformed into hope for the future. That the situation can be turned around so that little strokes can make great oaks grow sustainably instead of being felled over and over again. It takes very little to make a great difference. This is demonstrated in an inspirational exhibition of Pieter ten Hoopen’s images from the Hand in Hand project, with a focus on environmental work, in one of India’s poorest states. In India 400 million people live in extreme poverty. These are the people hardest hit by the country’s serious environmental problems. In order to boost the sustainable possibilities for improving both the environment and people’s living conditions, Fotografiska in collaboration with Hand in Hand and photographer Pieter ten Hoopen present the exhibition Spirit for Change. It is a low-key and poetic portrait of a small part of India’s enormous countryside, where things are changing for the better. It is an important development to highlight, if the UN goal of ending poverty in India by 2030 is to be achieved.

“- With our Fotografiska for Life exhibitions we want to contribute to direct attention to important social issues. Sustainability, in all its aspects, is something we care deeply about and our vision is to inspire a more conscious world, of which this exhibition is a prime example. Right from the start, Fotografiska has been committed to projects that bring to light challenges and possibilities in other parts of the world. Fotografiska is for the entire world, not only Europe,” Jan Broman, CEO and co-founder of Fotografiska, explains.

Hoopen’s photographs show what can happen when opportunities are provided to change one’s situation, to break free from destitution and build a new, better and more dignified life. When there is a Spirit for Change. These are images of people who are creating jobs for themselves as entrepreneurs, who are receiving treatment for a disease, children who are eager to learn to read and write, and people who work with creating new life-giving environments on places which previously were chaotic piles of rubbish.

“- We promote help to self-help. An example is the Recycle for Life project where people clean up and transform their environment. Things that were regarded as waste are now collected, sorted, recycled and turned into new raw materials. This creates work and income for many people and new possibilities to change their situation by becoming entrepreneurs running profitable environmental-improving businesses. A sustainable outlook improves the environment and benefits people’s health and the society in general,” Charlotte Bohman, Secretary General of Hand in Hand Sweden explains.

Through their activities in India, Hand in Hand, an NGO working to fight poverty by entrepreneurship, has created more than two million jobs and improved the living conditions for more than 10 millions people, taking the bread-winners’ families into account. In Pieter ten Hoopen’s photographs, we encounter some of the people he has met through Hand in Hand, in calm contemplation or buzzing activities, at the heart of the second-most populous country in the world. A place that conveys a Spirit for Change…

Pieter ten Hoopen explains his commitment:
“- To see women and families climb out of generations of poverty by starting their own businesses is incredible! The women have been given a voice. A position in the villages. I would almost go so far as to call it a revolution!”