Rwanda in Photographs - Death Then, Life Now
Twenty years after the genocide in Rwanda that led to the deaths of up to a million people, Rwanda in Photographs: Death Then, Life Now brings work by Rwandan photographers to international audiences for the first time. Intimate images of everyday life in the Great Lakes communicate the complexities of survival after mass violence. How do you live side by side with people who killed your families? How can you rebuild lives that were almost completely destroyed?
Rwanda in Photographs: Death Then, Life Now is presented by the Cultural Institute at King’s and curated by Dr Zoe Norridge, Lecturer in English and Comparative Literature at King’s and Mark Sealy MBE, Director of the photography charity Autograph ABP. Exhibition production is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
The photographs are the fruits of a workshop led by award-winning international photographers Andrew Esiebo (Nigeria) and Brendon Brannon (US and Kenya) in which photographers from Rwanda questioned the ways in which their country is portrayed internationally. Too often the country is reduced to images of violence and death, as seen through the eyes of outsiders. For this exhibition, Rwandans have challenged this gaze and now show us their country through their own eyes.
The resulting images reveal a nation in the midst of profound change. In capital city Kigali the economy is strengthening, new buildings are springing up and a fashionable elite is taking root. In more rural areas the scars of genocide are still visibly present in ongoing neighbourly tensions and changing but enduring poverty.
Complementing the Rwandan photography is a series of portraits of
Returnees by workshop facilitator Andrew Esiebo. These Rwandans were forced into exile following violence in 1959 and the ensuing decades. Many returned very soon after genocide – keen to participate in rebuilding the country. They come from all walks of life – from taxi drivers to bankers – and are pictured here in their place of work: the office, the studio, the construction site. Many are key figures in the Arts in Kigali.
This exhibition marks a step change in the global perception of a country. Photographs by Rwandan artists are yet to be circulated widely among international networks. Now, two decades after the events that brought this small East-African country onto the front pages of our newspapers, we are redressing this. By listening to Rwandan narratives and viewing Rwanda through Rwandan images we come closer to understanding the scale and scope of the country’s journey.
Thursday 20 March – Wednesday 16 April 2014, Inigo Rooms, Somerset House East Wing, Strand WC2R 2LS. A full programme of events will be announced shortly.
For further information, please contact:
Arthur Leone PR, Anna Arthur / Annie Hughes on 020 7836 7660 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Danielle Moore-Chick, AHRC: 01793 416021 email@example.com
Notes to editors:
- The Cultural Institute at King’s is a flagship initiative which creates a distinctive first point of engagement for the cultural sector and offers enhanced, specialist support for King’s academics in their collaborations with artists and cultural organisations. By connecting artists and arts organisations with the College’s rich variety of research expertise and multi-disciplinary strength across its many Schools, the Institute aims to generate new forms of exchange, engagement and collaboration, test new ideas, stimulate new partnerships and reach out to new audiences. www.kcl.ac.uk/cultural
- Autograph ABP was established in 1988 with the mission of advocating the inclusion of historically marginalised photographic practices. Autograph ABP is a charity that works internationally in photography, cultural identity, race, representation and human rights. They produce exhibitions and events, commissions and publications as well as collaborating with artists, scholars and institutions nationally and internationally with the aim of engaging audiences around the world.
- The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. For further information on the AHRC, please go to: www.ahrc.ac.uk
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