Born in 1975 in Madrid, Spain
Lives and works in London, UK
Luis Arnal considers himself a ‘photographer for social change’. His projects aim to give visibility to those volunteers and activists that are putting aside some of their personal time to fight for what they believe would be a better and fairer world.
Arnal lived in Spain, Sweden and France before moving to London in 2009. His projects include Fighters! (We all Are) and Cambio de Planes.
Who is your shero and why?
Without doubt, my all-time shero is a full-time nurse and relentless volunteer, teacher, carer and social activist, who also happens to be my mother.
Among the women I have photographed, I choose Donna Farrugia, aka “Dee-Dee”. After facing some health issues that prevented her from working, Donna decided to try to help the ever-growing number of homeless people in and around her borough of Tower Hamlets. Donna, her school-teacher friend Tracey and their team of volunteers deliver home-cooked food, clothes, tents and sleeping bags a couple of times a week in her Peugeot 206. Her efforts have been rewarded recently with an honorary award from DLR as a Community Champion. When asked about why she decided to start helping the homeless, she spontaneously replied “I don’t know, just felt like doing it”. Most of us are constantly looking for excuses to not even to try to do something to help society.
How does the work you are presenting exemplify the theme of ‘sheroes’?
The photos I’ve chosen are part of the wider project Fighters! (We all Are). The selected portraits show women I’ve been lucky to encounter who are keen on challenging the current order (imposed by the ruling 1%) by doing things their way. These individuals, of all ages, backgrounds and professions, are sometimes almost anonymously doing their bit to change the surrounding environment. Of course it is taking time, but they are doing it bit by bit.
My intention with this photography project is to get in touch with some of these individuals, find out more about their motivations and actions, and increase their visibility, conveying their message and helping the rest of us to think about what we might do to make some changes in society.