Nous Tous Gallery by Citizens of Culture Presents:
Elvin Abril’s ONE SHOT
February 15, 2018
Nous Tous Gallery by Citizens of Culture is proud to present ONE SHOT, a photo exhibition by Southern California-based photographer Elvin Abril.
ONE SHOT celebrates gut checks. Abril ended up in Benin, West Africa, after linking with Ahmed Taofik in Paris on a whim in May of 2017. Almost 6,000 miles away from home, he struck a conversation about his passions with the then-stranger inside his store, Pigalle Basketball. 3 months later, the two forged a long-distance partnership that had Abril flying out again, this time to meet Taofik at his non-profit basketball camp in Benin. Abril’s one directive was to take photos at Enfants Du Benin Debout, which aims to empower young talents throughout Africa with life-preparedness skills and resources.
Standing on the gravelly basketball court on his first day in Benin, Abril resolved to document the country’s rich Voodoo roots and bright-eyed youth. Through his lens, he captured unique stories of kids who came to camp for the practice drills and scrimmages and left with valuable lessons on living sustainably and positively.
Beyond basketball, Enfants Du Benin Debout teaches values and cultural diversity to the youth in Africa. Taofik, who moved from Benin at an early age, created the non-profit organization to encourage its participants to explore beyond the walls of their hometowns.
At the very core of Abril’s ONE SHOT is a reverberating reminder that many of us put up our own walls over time, guarding ourselves from serendipitous moments. The kids of Enfants Du Benin Debout are being taught what we sometimes forget: we ought to search for hidden moments that ultimately take us out of our comfort zones. Had it not been for a random “hello,” Abril would have never met Taofik, let alone traveled to Benin for a new photography assignment. Woven into his work is a story about creating the space to shoot your shot and reach out to others. In the spirit of NBA All-Star Weekend, ONE SHOT is an evening that celebrates basketball and how it inspires its community — both players and fans alike — to trust that gut to connect.