Jamal Penjweny, an Iraqi Kurdish photographer, artist and filmmaker, creates I Wish– a simple yet poignant series of photos that feature people who have dreams of sport stardom but lack the ability and/or possibilities to make their dreams come true.
As children we all have dreams of becoming famous, we see Maradona play soccer or a Bruce Lee film and think that we will be stars like them when we grow up. But life gives us another way, we become something else, and we do not get a chance to live these dreams.
For I Wish, Penjweny photographs his subjects inside their homes or at their jobs and asks them to hold a picture of their sport stardom dream. Some hold pictures of successful swimmers, tennis and soccer players ; others hold pictures of Bruce Lee, while some embrace photos of their favorite car driver. The idea, although a bit pessimistic at first glance, is to create visual juxtapositions between their dreams and their current simple but confortable reality. While the photographs are unassuming and understated, we can’t help but fall under spells of nostalgia and sentimentality as these images are a reminder that we are all stuck in our mundane lives while our dreams are left in the back burner. Here, Penjweny gives dreams a chance, he tries to expose them, and, in a sense, give them life.
The man in the mountains wanted to become a champion swimmer but he was born in a place with no swimming pools, the man with the Bruce Lee photo took karate lessons and then became a Mullah, the man with the Ferrari photo always wanted to be a racecar driver- now he has a donkey and sells gasoline. I made this project to give one moment when dreams can become reality, so each person can act out their dream even if they cannot fulfill it in real life.
No matter where you are or how old you are, if you are disabled, or poor- restrictions are by no means important when one can think big, and get excited by it. So what if dreams don’t come to fruition, if you are driven by the power of limitless thought and possibility, then you are bound to get someplace worth your stay.