Let Our People Grow
Pietro Milici guides us in the world of the Barcelona Cannabis Social Club.
The idea was born in 2013, the year in which he lives in Barcelona and begins his approach to Cannabis Social clubs. The impact with the clubs gave birth to the idea of a project focused on the immortal moment of symbiosis, between the object and the subject, that materializes in the exact moment when you smoke.
The subjects, captured in the symbiotic moment through a refined portraiture technique, show all the love for the human race that Milici expresses through the camera.
Mankind, therefore people, is a central part of the project and the title tends to underline it as well.
The project develops over a period of time covering the three-year period of 2013-2015. The background that influences the project is dual: a more “personal” side emerges linked to curiosity and love both for the subject and for the object, balanced by a scrupulous scientific look inherited from college studies. In this way we find ourselves in front of a research that tends to clarify a field cloaked in a mantle of inconsistencies, contradictions and why not, hypocrisy. A gray area of difficult penetration.
The history of the Cannabis social clubs began more than twenty years ago, in the first half of the 90s and exactly in 1994 when the Catalan breach was first mentioned in conjunction with the birth of the Ramon Santos Association. A few years later the Basque breach followed with the Kalamudia experience, club that succeeded in some conquests that led in 2001 to the opening of the first Cannabis Club in Barcelona.
To be noted the term breach that indicates violation, violation of the Spanish legislation. Also, when entering the field of laws, one comes across the gray area that made the Cannabis Club successful.
After the fall of Francisco Franco in 1975, in the drafting of the Spanish Constitution for the fundamental rights, a broad statement of individual and social rights was received, including: the right to private property, the right to privacy and the right of association, and it’s just by drawing on these rights that the clubs manage to survive, and to later flourish, in the continuous bureaucratic/legal struggle that sees them at the center.
It is also important to keep into consideration the fact that the vicissitudes of the Catalan Cannabis clubs are linked to an additional political battle, such as the Catalan independence, and that the different political colors that have dyed Barcelona’s City Hall over the years, greatly contributed to the swinging fortunes of the clubs.
The book shows a series of photographs taken inside clubs and elsewhere. The images unveil, in the sense of removing the veil, a varied and multifaceted world. The work carried out is therefore not reduced to a simple roundup of images inside the clubs seen as islands difficult to reach. Clubs are seen as a means of expressing battles affecting the fundamental rights of a young nation, that is juggling with centrifugal and separatist forces.
Cannabis clubs are seen as places of aggregation and union. Bridges to a more civil society, fighting for individual rights. The title “Let our people grow” tends to underline a strong demand for freedom, understood as freedom of struggle for the affirmation of one’s own rights, and of growth of the individual and consequently of the community.