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IGNANT’s Most Inspiring Stories Of 2020

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2020 was a time of collective uncertainty and hardships, but also one of perseverance and inspiration. As we pause to reflect on the year, we have rounded up the many stories that have kept us creatively motivated. Stories that, altogether, showed us empathy and the importance of staying connected, while offering renewed hope for the future.

This year’s round-up includes stories that explore the determination that helped the creative industries persevere. Forced to adapt to a new reality of social distancing and home office, designers have been reinventing themselves like never before, improvising and expressing their creativity with rapid-fire solutions. For photographers, nature has been an avenue of escape, providing them with a moment of calm. Their work has reminded us of the importance of preserving and spending time in our surroundings—some made us travel to places far beyond, others made us reflect on the simplicity nearby. And with anti-racism work being more critical than ever, our 2020 list also includes stories that have sparked meaningful discussions around race, personal identity, and social politics; with intimate life portraits that highlight the need to take a step back to listen and learn, while inspiring reverence. In no particular order:

Horacio Reyes Páez’s Dream-Like Images Reconnect Us With Nature During Lockdown

Isolated at his family home in Uruguay because of strict global lockdowns, Vienna-based photographer Horacio Reyes Paéz found respite from feelings of uncertainty by revisiting the idyllic region that defined his childhood days. Imbued with a fascinating eeriness, the images captured during his confined days showcase a world thrown into a quiet chaos, which, despite its future being messy, evokes feelings of serenity and purity. See the collection of images here.

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Image © Horacio Reyes Páez

A Virtual Gallery Explores The Theme Of Uncertainty In An Otherworldly Setting

Imagined, for uncertain times’ is a surreal virtual gallery space designed by Barcelona-based design firm SPOT Studio and San Jose-based studio Soft Geometry. Housing the works of 11 independent design studios from nine different countries—including works of furniture, lighting, and sculpture—the project presents a model vision for creative collaboration within the design community, and an innovative opportunity to engage with a distanced audience.

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Image © Spot Studio

Oghalé Alex’s Stunning Editorial For Cold Laundry

For the minimal fashion label Cold Laundry, Nigerian-American photographer Oghalé Alex has directed an otherworldly editorial that explores themes of freedom and companionship. Shot at multiple locations across the world, the ethereal series focuses on a rather beautiful juxtaposition between Black bodies and nature, with special attention to tactility, posing, and movement, as well as color and tone.

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Image © Oghalé Alex

Dancer Patricia Zhou’s Moving Performance Little Treasure Is A Study Of Family Grief

Premiered on IGNANT, the short film titled ‘Little Treasure’ is a contemporary solo performance by Los Angeles-based dancer Patricia Zhou, which explores grief, submission, and acceptance through the alchemy of movement—to powerful and cinematic effect. Showcasing dance and art as the universal languages that tie humanity together, Zhou’s unexpected journey sends a message of unity and harmony, particularly during a time when the world feels so divided.

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Image © Patricia Zhou

In Berlin, Otto Is The Small Restaurant That Hums

In this documentary, director Paul Sonntag provides an intimate look behind the scenes of Berlin chef Vadim Otto Ursus’ approach to farm-to-table dining, capturing the grit, patience, and determination it takes to run the 19-seat dining venue ‘otto’. Complemented by a captivating interview, the story reflects on reimagining otto’s dining experience as a result of the global pandemic, while highlighting the chef’s commitment to interpersonal exchange, love for good, honest food, and the joy of sharing the moment—and the plate.

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Image @ Paul Sonntag

Jeremy Snell’s Boys Of Volta Is A Meditative, Stirring, And Tender Documentation

The new cinematic photo book by Brooklyn-based photographer Jeremy Snell, Boys of Volta, is a unique documentation of the children sailing the waters of Ghana’s enormous lake Volta for fishing. Eliciting a meditative and melancholy emotion, the compelling collection of images are a sensitive portrayal of a youth’s endurance and strength, often unknown to the Western world.

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Image © Jeremy Snell

Through Mountains And Deserts, A Visual Journey Of Southern Tunisia

Before COVID-19 brought travel and tourism to a standstill, IGNANT was invited to travel across Tunisia’s exquisitely scenic southern regions, through sparsely populated landscapes and intriguing historical towns. Freezing the true nature of this vast land in time, this enchanting collection of still pictures serve as mementos of a blissful simplicity that once was; a glimpse of dreamy atmospheres we will soon be able to visit again.

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Image @ Marina Denisova

Studio Boir’s Sculptural Tableware Collection Is For Socially Distanced Eating

Designed during the coronavirus pandemic, this tableware collection by Croatian design firm Studio Boir enables diners to indulge in a safe and distanced dining experience and achieve harmony between intimacy and precautions. Comprising five items, it provides a novel way to present and consume food at restaurants or in the comfort of your home.

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Image © Nikola Zelmanović

Charlotte Lapalus’s Tree Of Life Unravels Senegal’s Untold Stories

This exclusive editorial by Marseille-based photographer Charlotte Lapalus unpacks the trauma of female genital mutilation in the Casamance region, Senegal, with unparalleled intimacy. Capturing the tension between the freedom and beauty of Senegal’s landscapes and the harshness of the hidden limitations imposed on its inhabitants, the enthralling series ‘The Tree of Life’ frames a country that is held up by tenacious, empowered women—a challenge in a land awash with persisting gender violence.

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Image © Charlotte Lapalus