Katleen Gils obtained a Master’s degree in Photography, Cultural Management and also studied visual creative therapy.
In her life and work, the following three pillars are always present:
Fascinated by different cultures, she likes to immerse herself in them, be moved and guided by their lifestyles. She uses her camera to give a language to the customs and practices of local people, to excite and inspire the viewer, to make people move and think. She likes to be guided by all the beauty in this world, and creatively connects with the other(s), moving them both creatively and mentally. Sometimes an interaction arises between herself and the person she photographs, as in the project ‘Adjua’, which has more of a documentary content.
ART. As an (art) photographer and mixed-media artist, she connects with herself and with others. A creative process that brings new insights and ideas every time. She creates what she feels, without needing words. She often uses instant photo and colored tape; the imperfect gives her the freedom to let go of not being perfect, the colored tape provides additional form of freedom and often reminds her of her early years in Africa.
CONCEPTS. Through her knowledge, skills and creativity, she develops projects for socio-innovative organisations to help them better understand/reach their target groups. For this she connects with the client, the group, and the individual. For her, photography is a tool to help others connect with themselves. In this way, she plants seeds wherever she goes. She usually shifts the participants’ attention to something positive and moves them creatively from certain questions. In this way, it often has a ripple effect on the mental well-being of the participants.
Interactions often occur between these three pillars. Example of a photo project called ‘Locked Insight’. Through dialogues with young people, an interaction emerges between the photographer, and the young people who are also creating. These young people are guided to find a POWER word. From this, they are encouraged to make a POWER picture. In a world where negativity and low self-esteem are omnipresent, the focus is shifted to something positive.
In the past these projects have been supported by NIKON Belgium, Fujifilm Belgium, Imprenta, Agrafa Affichage, Zwartopwit, FOMU, Breedbeeld vzw, De Studio, Fameus, Stad Antwerpen, Agfa Geveart.
Partners: Breedbeeld vzw, FOMU, BeHuman vzw, Belgian Embassy, Togo Debout vzw, Formaat vzw, Scum Studios, Vrijuit, Recht-Op Jongeren, KRAS, Wingerdbloei vzw, Kavka, Kaaiman, Stad Antwerpen, Opvangcentrum Linkeroever, KDG hogeschool, Stad Mortsel, Cultuurregio De Zuidrand, OVERKOP, JOC Mortsel.
Commissioned: Charlie Magazine, Apache, De Morgen Magazine, HLN, Wingerdbloei vzw, Formaat vzw, Let’s Go Urban, Netwerk Tegen Armoede, RADAR Mechelen, Doek vzw.