In November 2015, the Philly Block Project Team went out to scout and photograph South Kensington for the first time. That day, they would meet a man whose story perfectly embodied the spirit of the Project, the power of history, and the deep connections that come with a shared sense of ‘place.’
In Hakan Ibisi’s wallet is a photo of his grandfather; he carries it everywhere he goes. While that may not seem particularly remarkable, you might be surprised to hear that the two men have never met. In the 20th century, Hakan’s grandfather left his home in Turkey to pursue the ‘American Dream.’ At the time, South Kensington was experiencing an industrial boom that inspired a generation of immigrants to set down roots there. Leaving everything behind, and working tirelessly to create a life for his children, and theirs, the Ibisi family built a life on the same streets Hakan now walks.
Unfortunately, the two would never meet; Hakan’s grandfather passed away before he was born. His bravery and family values, however, continue to inspire Hakan. His grandfather chose a new home, and in so doing, allowed Hakan to live the life he has today. Eternally inspired by his grandfather’s determination, his photo serves as a reminder that where we come from is just as important as where we are going.
Photo Credit: Wyatt Gallery / Hank Willis Thomas Studio.