By School of Oriental and African Studies
Published October 30, 2010
A photo exhibition bringing together two special exhibitions of photographs from two very different parts of the world but with one common theme–life as a refugee through the eyes of children–is running in the Brunei Gallery, School of oriental and African Studies, London, October 21-December 11, 2010.
Escaping War: An Exhibition of Photographs Taken by Refugee Children in Uganda and Jordan, is the result of an art therapy project called Photo Camp that was conducted by International Medical Corps,in partnership with National Geographic in November 2006 in Southwest Uganda for refugee children from Rwanda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Photo Camp Uganda proved such a success that another Photo Camp was run in Jordan in the summer of 2009, working with Iraqi and Palestinian refugee children (funded by AusAid).
The aim of both Photo Camps was the same: to inspire young people to explore their lives and communities through the camera’s lens. The use of documentary photography in this way can enable children that have traditionally been the subject of such work to become its creator; to have control over how they are perceived by the rest of the world.
Photo camps are designed to amplify the voice of children and young people. All of the participants will have experienced extreme and prolonged suffering as a result of fleeing war and surviving in a new country.
Photo Camp Uganda and Jordan participants were given the opportunity to document their lives and experiences with internationally-acclaimed photographers, Reza and Ed Kashi.
Reza and Kashi, along with a host of other photographers, taught the students how to describe their personal world and create self-portraits by exploring the world through the lens of a camera.
Individual sessions with International Medical Corps mental health staff allow the children to unlock painful experiences and help in addressing their emotional needs.
By using photography as a catalyst for discussion, Photo Camps encourage self-expression and awareness among the young refugees, all of whom have felt the strain of the displacement on their communities.
The exhibition, running in the exhibition rooms of Brunei Gallery, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG, is open Tuesday and Saturday, 10.30 – 17.00 hours. Admission is Free.
The Brunei Gallery is an exciting venue situated in the heart of London. Located between Malet Street and Thornhaugh Street in the North West corner of Russell Square, it is only a three-minute walk from the British Museum and is opposite the main entrance to the School of Oriental and African Studies building.
The Galleries, within The Brunei Gallery building, host a programme of changing exhibitions that reflect subjects and regions studied at the School. They are both a student resource and a public facility, being part of the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), Europe’s leading centre for the study of Asia and Africa.
“We are dedicated to showing work of and from Asia and Africa, of both a historical and contemporary nature. This is as part of the Gallery’s aim to present and promote cultures from these regions,” says soas.ac.uk website.
A third Photo Camp collaboration between International Medical Corps and National Geographic is planned for 2011 in Haiti.
Based on a Press Release by the School of Oriental and African Studies