Images of Child Soldiers in Africa Come to Worcester Art Museum
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
“Africa’s Children of Arms” will come to the museum on November 19th, 2014 and will stay through May 31st, 2015 and features works by internationally acclaimed photographers Marcus Bleasdale, Robin Hammond, and Andre Lambertson that tell the stories of individuals as they embark on a new chapter in their lives.
"With this presentation, I hope that visitors give further consideration to those who have lived through the atrocities of war in the present day. This insight will provide a contemporary framework for understanding the real world ramifications of the weaponry featured in Knights!, as well as a more nuanced perspective on an issue that has persisted across centuries," said Nancy Burns, Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Worcester Art Museum. "These images not only document and raise awareness of the forced recruitment and exploitation of children, but they also capture the triumph of the human spirit as these ex-soldiers come to terms with their pasts in order to rebuild their lives for a happier future."
Bringing together 30 photographs, the exhibition sheds light on one of the most pressing human rights issues afflicting Africa, where boys and girls are regularly forced into armed combat. Whether they are abducted, coerced into violence, or perceive their participation in the army as the only option for survival, many of these child soldiers are not old enough to understand the severe brutality to which they are exposed during conflict.
The images by the featured documentarians and photojournalists serve as records of life after war as these individuals reintegrate themselves into society and grapple with the unspeakable trauma that defined their youth.
The featured works in the exhibit will include the following:
Marcus Bleasdale's 2010 series Abandoned People: Central African Republic follows the lives of ex-child soldiers throughout the Central African Republic. Bleasdale is one of the world's leading documentary photographers, who uses his work to advocate for political and social change around the world. His photographs examining human rights abuses have been shown in the U.S. Senate, the United Nations, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in France, and in leading publications, including The New York Times, TIME Magazine, Newsweek, and National Geographic, among others.
Condemned (2013) by Robin Hammond documentsthe crisis surrounding mental health in Africa's war-weary countries. While in Liberia, he took portraits of former child soldiers reenacting their combat roles using sticks and their hands. This series, previously displayed throughout the city of Paris on a series of billboards, won the 2014 Pictures of the Year International Award (POYi). Hammond is a freelance photojournalist who has dedicated his career to documenting human rights and development issues around the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. He is the recipient of four Amnesty International awards for Human Rights journalism and the Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award (2011).
Andre Lambertson's Liberia: Pictures from Out of the Rubble (2007) chronicles the lives of adolescents, ages 17 to 22, who exist on the margins of society. Victims of a civil war they never chose to join, these young people are often ostracized and not embraced back into the communities they once terrorized. Africa's Children of Arms marks the first time this group of works has been exhibited. Andre Lambertson is a New York-based photojournalist, teacher, and filmmaker committed to documenting stories of hope, healing, and transformation. His award-winning photo essays on social issues have been featured in Time, U.S. News & World Report, Life, National Geographic, and The New York Times Magazine.
For more information on the Worcester Art Museum or to learn more about the exhibit, visit www.worcesterart.org.
Related Slideshow: 7 Art Galleries To Visit In Central MA
55 Salisbury Street, Worcester
The Worcester Art Museum, often referred to by its acronym WAM, is the most acclaimed cultural attraction in the city of Worcester. The world famous "classic American museum" contains over 35,000 pieces of artwork spanning over 5,000 years. Currently on display is [remastered]: A reinstallation of the Worcester Art Museum's paintings from the 16th-18th centuries provides a new look at Old Masters.
25 Sagamore Road, Worcester
The Worcester Center for Crafts’ Krikorian Gallery, in conjunction with Worcester State University, is committed to "sustaining craft as a vital part our community" through education, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. They are currently holding its Holiday Festival of Crafts 2013 this weekend.
25 Merriam Parkway, Fitchburg
The Fitchburg Art Museum is one of the cultural treasures of North Central Massachusetts. Though not quite as famous as its cousin to the south, the Worcester Art Museum, the Fitchburg museum still houses an impressive permanent collection of art spanning 5,000 years. Check out their current exhibition: Still Life Lives! - A celebration of the vitality of the still life tradition and its themes of beauty, bounty, darkness, fragility, and fleeting moments, which runs through January 14.
38 Harlow Street, Worcester
The Sprinkler Factory is a unique gem in Downtown Worcester and a true center for all the arts. Once a manufacturing plant, the Sprinkler Factory now provides space for individual artists to form their own studios and contains areas for music, dance, and other fun activities. The massive atrium on the second floor in the middle of the complex is available for local artists to show their work. The public is welcome to browse the artists' studios and galleries. An upcoming exhibition entitled Indoor Games , runs from December 7 through January 25, captures the spirit of creativity during the winter months.
960 Main Street, Fitchburg
Since its opening in 2008 by founders by Ann and Peter Capodagli, the Boulder Art Gallery has been committed to showing original and vintage paintings, photographs, prints and sculptures from the region's most talented artists. A true variety of work from both new and established artists is on display in a multitude of mediums and styles; check out oils, acrylics, watercolors and pastels. Many pieces are also available for purchase.
660 Main Street; 657 Main Street, Worcester
The Aurora Gallery and the “GArtH” Gallery of Art at the Hadley are run by the organization ArtsWorcester, and both show the work of local artists, many of whom are members of the group. For a list of current and upcoming exhibits, click here and here.
44 Portland Street, Worcester
Since its founding in 2006, the Davis Art Gallery has made it its mission to promote the Worcester art community and create awareness of the local creative culture. One of the ways the gallery does this is by showing the work of local artists in a great variety of different mediums. Currently, you can see an exhibit by Emily and Robb Sandagata; Unearthed, which runs through February 7th.
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