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New and unique outdoor exhibition brings Congo to Ireland
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Image by infomatique
Famous for his portraits of celebrities like Kate Moss and Kylie, renowned photographer Rankin has joined forces with Oxfam Ireland to bring the faces of those caught up in the war zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo to Dublin.

Starting April 30th and running until July 31 st at Wolf Tone Park (beside the Jervis Street shopping centre, Rankin's exhibition – sponsored by Irish Aid, the Government's overseas aid programme and supported by Dublin City Council – sees his celebrity portraiture being used with entirely different subjects – the residents of Mugunga camp, home to over 250,000 people displaced by Congo's harrowing violence.

Photographed against Rankin's trademark white backdrop rather than in their everyday surroundings, those in the portraits boldly defy the war victim tag and shine out as real people with individuality, humour and warmth. Jasmine, a young girl, mimics Rankin with her own camera made from a tin can; Tumani a tailor, smiles broadly as she balances her sewing machine on her head; and Marina, a grandmother, stands proudly with her grandchildren by her side.

The exhibition's name Cheka Kidogo, meaning “laugh a little” in Swahili, celebrates the spirit of the Congolese people in the face of adversity, but was also the phrase that people called out to their friends being photographed. The exhibition will move on to Belfast after its showing in Dublin .

Rankin said:

“I think we have become anesthetised to traditional photographs of conflict victims. By taking my celebrity portraiture style of photography and applying it to the survivors in the camps in Congo I have tried to get beyond the statistics and show the human side of the conflict.

“It is crazy that we hear nothing about the Democratic Republic of Congo. The level of suffering there is horrendous, but it hardly makes the news. I heard awful stories of young girls being raped and people fleeing attacks on their villages. Despite the suffering that they have been through the people of Congo are just like us and need our help. I hope the exhibition will wake people up to what is going on.”

The scale of Congo 's suffering defies belief. Since 1998, the country has lost 5.4 million people to conflict, and the deadly disease and hunger that it has unleashed. Over a million people are displaced in the eastern part of the country, with over 500,000 people having fled from violence in the last year alone. Rape is epidemic. This year more than 1,100 women a month have reported being raped, although the real figure is likely to be much higher.

Speaking about his experience in the Congo , Rankin said:

“I felt energised by the strength of the people and their will to survive and to make their lives better. Yet they all have these really awful stories. They have all seen their brothers and sisters, wives, husbands, daughters or sons killed in front of them, and you can see it in their eyes.”

Jim Clarken Oxfam Ireland 's Chief Executive who has just returned from the Democratic Republic of Congo said “ I know first hand the devastation this forgotten emergency is having on the people there, and know the importance of continued support for this region."

Oxfam Ireland is very proud to host the exhibition and hopes it will raise awareness of the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Oxfam's ongoing work in camps for millions of displaced people. To make a donation to Oxfam Ireland 's DRC appeal, please go to www.oxfamireland.org, text DRC to 51500 (standard text rate applies) or call 1850 30 40 55 (ROI) and 0800 0 30 40 55 (NI)



OXFAM
celebrity names
Image by infomatique
Famous for his portraits of celebrities like Kate Moss and Kylie, renowned photographer Rankin has joined forces with Oxfam Ireland to bring the faces of those caught up in the war zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo to Dublin.

Starting April 30th and running until July 31 st at Wolf Tone Park (beside the Jervis Street shopping centre, Rankin's exhibition – sponsored by Irish Aid, the Government's overseas aid programme and supported by Dublin City Council – sees his celebrity portraiture being used with entirely different subjects – the residents of Mugunga camp, home to over 250,000 people displaced by Congo's harrowing violence.

Photographed against Rankin's trademark white backdrop rather than in their everyday surroundings, those in the portraits boldly defy the war victim tag and shine out as real people with individuality, humour and warmth. Jasmine, a young girl, mimics Rankin with her own camera made from a tin can; Tumani a tailor, smiles broadly as she balances her sewing machine on her head; and Marina, a grandmother, stands proudly with her grandchildren by her side.

The exhibition's name Cheka Kidogo, meaning “laugh a little” in Swahili, celebrates the spirit of the Congolese people in the face of adversity, but was also the phrase that people called out to their friends being photographed. The exhibition will move on to Belfast after its showing in Dublin .

Rankin said:

“I think we have become anesthetised to traditional photographs of conflict victims. By taking my celebrity portraiture style of photography and applying it to the survivors in the camps in Congo I have tried to get beyond the statistics and show the human side of the conflict.

“It is crazy that we hear nothing about the Democratic Republic of Congo. The level of suffering there is horrendous, but it hardly makes the news. I heard awful stories of young girls being raped and people fleeing attacks on their villages. Despite the suffering that they have been through the people of Congo are just like us and need our help. I hope the exhibition will wake people up to what is going on.”

The scale of Congo 's suffering defies belief. Since 1998, the country has lost 5.4 million people to conflict, and the deadly disease and hunger that it has unleashed. Over a million people are displaced in the eastern part of the country, with over 500,000 people having fled from violence in the last year alone. Rape is epidemic. This year more than 1,100 women a month have reported being raped, although the real figure is likely to be much higher.

Speaking about his experience in the Congo , Rankin said:

“I felt energised by the strength of the people and their will to survive and to make their lives better. Yet they all have these really awful stories. They have all seen their brothers and sisters, wives, husbands, daughters or sons killed in front of them, and you can see it in their eyes.”

Jim Clarken Oxfam Ireland 's Chief Executive who has just returned from the Democratic Republic of Congo said “ I know first hand the devastation this forgotten emergency is having on the people there, and know the importance of continued support for this region."

Oxfam Ireland is very proud to host the exhibition and hopes it will raise awareness of the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Oxfam's ongoing work in camps for millions of displaced people. To make a donation to Oxfam Ireland 's DRC appeal, please go to www.oxfamireland.org, text DRC to 51500 (standard text rate applies) or call 1850 30 40 55 (ROI) and 0800 0 30 40 55 (NI)

 
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