Gambia Photography Exhibition opening night: ‘Portraits to Remember’ -victims, and resisters

Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow – executive secretary of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), The Gambia. Image © Jason Florio

March 5th, 2019 – opening night of ‘Portraits to Remember’ at the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations, the Gambia.

Jason Florio’s portraits, featured in the exhibition, are part of an on-going body of work which began over two years ago when he photographed Gambians who had exiled themselves, in fear of their lives, from the brutal regime of former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh.

Victim of rape and beatings by Gambian security forces, The Gambia - portrait by Jason Florio
Bintu was detained for five days, beaten and raped by three masked security officers at the Gambia Police Intervention Unit (PIU) HQ, after being arrested during a May 9th 2016 rally to demand the release of illegally detained protesters from previous rallies held on April 15th/16th, 2016. When asked if she would prefer that we keep her identity anonymous her adamant reply was “No, this was done to me, and I want justice…these men should be punished” From the series ‘Gambia – Victims and Resisters of a Regime‘ ©Jason Florio

‘Gambia – Victims and Resisters of a Regime’

Oumie Jagne was shot twice in the arm by Gambian security forces during a peacful protests by students on April 10th 2000 © Jason Florio Gambia
Oumie Jagne was shot twice in the arm by Gambian security forces during a peacful protests by students on April 10th 2000 © Jason Florio

Oumie Jagne was shot twice in the arm by former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s security forces after she was caught up in student protests in April 10/11 2000. She was at her small shop when the shooting of unarmed students began and attempted to help a young girl who had been shot in the foot. While pulling the girl to safety, Oumie was fired upon and suffered life-changing injuries, almost severing her left arm. She is one of hundreds of victims registered at the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations.

#Portraits4PositiveChange

Opening night photography exhibition – portraits by Jason Florio. Image ©Jason Florio
Kafo Bayo (pictured below, at the exhibition opening night, seated below his portrait) was part of the April 14th, 2016 peaceful protest lead by Solo Sandeng for electoral reform. Bayo along with a number of other demonstrators was held for eight months subjected to torture and abuse by President Jammeh’s security forces, including being bound face down on a table and beaten by masked men Former seaman, masoner and political activist Kafo Bayo was arrested, tortured and jailed at Mile 2 prison after being arrested during the April 14th 2016 protests for electoral reform in the Gambia. From the series ‘Gambia – Victims and Resisters of a Regime‘  © Jason Florio

 ‘Gambia – Victims, and Resisters of a Regime’

From 1994 -2017 President Yahya Jammeh ruled the Gambia, West Africa, as his own personal fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition, with brutality.

His personal hit squad and intelligence agency carried out tortures, and assassinations with impunity – journalists were gunned down and disappeared, ministers were jailed, students shot in cold blood, and even his own brother and sister were murdered on his orders.

Journalist wearing a t-shirt with the face of assassinated journalist and co-founder of The Point newspaper Deyda Hydara. Hydara was an advocate of press freedom and a fierce critic of the government of President Yahya Jammeh, who was openly hostile to Gambian journalists and the media. Hydara was gunned down by assailants in his car as he was returning from work in 2004. From the series ‘Gambia – Victims and Resisters of a Regime‘  ©Jason Florio
Helen Jones-Florio talks with representatives of TRIAL International at the exhibition opening night, about her work on the portrait project with Jason. Image © Jason Florio.

With Jammeh’s 2016 election defeat, he went into exile after a standoff with regional forces, and the victims of his regime started to come forward.

So far, almost 1000 victims and their families have registered with the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations to share their stories and help build international support to bring Jammeh to justice

Opening night photography exhibition: Three of the subjects of – Jason Florio’s portraits. Image ©Jason Florio
For three days I did not know who I was…where I was. My clothes, they looked like, you know, like a butchers… (covered in blood) Kafo Bayo
Left: Photographer, Jason Florio, with some of the victims and resister who are portrayed in his photography on exhibit. Image © Helen Jones-Florio.
Ya Mammie Ceesay stands next to Jason Florio’s portrait of her. Image © Jason Florio.

Ya Mammie Ceesay, mother of disappeared Gambian-American businessman Alhaji Mamut Ceesay. Alhaji returned to the Gambia in 2013 with his friend Ebou Jobe to set up a business, but they were allegedly robbed of their money by National Intelligence Agency heads, who later told President Jammeh the businessmen were in the Gambia to overthrow his regime. The two were then allegedly murdered on Jammeh’s command.

Sharon Wardle, the British High Commissioner to The Gambia, with Ayeshah Jammeh (also one of the subjects of Jason Florio’s portraits of victims and resisters of a regime), one of the founder of the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations. Image ©Jason Florio.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words – compelling images & personal accounts at the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations – “Portraits to Remember” exhibition. Sharon Wardle, British High Commissioner to The Gambia

To see more from Jason Florio’s series, please visit the website ‘Gambia – Victims and Resisters of a Regime‘, a work-in-progress with Helen Jones-Florio.

 

Jason Florio’s work is towards under-reported stories about people living on the margins of society and human rights. His work has been recognised with a number of awards, including The Magnum Photography Award 2017 for his work on migration. He was the first recipient of the Aperture Foundation grant to produce Aperture’s first ever assigned story, ‘This is Libya’. His work is held in a number of public and private collections and has been presented in solo and joint exhibitions in USA, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

________

Available for assignments & for image licensing – Contact here

2019 – Currently working on

Gambia – Victims, and Resisters of a Regime

#Portraits4PositiveChange

floriophoto.com

@jasonflorio / @floriotravels – Instagram

Jason Florio – Vimeo

floriophotoNYC – Twitter

Jason Florio/Photojournalist – FB

Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio, standing in front of the banner for the exhibition, outside the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations, the Gambia. Image by Buba Bah.

Photography Exhibition: ‘Portraits to Remember’ – victims and resisters, The Gambia, West Africa

Exhibiting for the first time, portraits from the on-going series, ‘Gambia – Victims, and Resisters of a Regime‘ taken over the past two years in The Gambia, and Senegal

We are delighted to be part of this group show and it’s truly an honour to be able to have the opening, in The Gambia, at the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations, who we have been collaborating with over the last few months.

'Portraits to Remember'  victims and resisters - Exhibition invite, The Gambia, West Africa
‘Portraits to Remember’ – Exhibition invite, The Gambia, West Africa

 

Invite image © Jason Florio – Sarjo Manneh, holding photos of his son, well-known journalist, Chief Ibrima Manneh shaking hands with President of the Gambia, Yahya Jammeh. Chief was later abducted by state security forces and, according to informants, subsequently murdered on Jammeh’s instructions after he wrote an article about term limits for the Gambian presidency. His body has, to this day, never been found.

_____

I believe in the power of photos to create change and also give a voice to a person or community!Jeanny Tsai,photographer – supporter of GoFundMe/Gambia-Victims and Resisters

#Portraits4PositiveChange

Amie Bayo – portrait © Jason Florio ‘Gambia – Victims and Resisters of a Regime’
Amie Bayo – portrait © Jason Florio ‘Gambia – Victims and Resisters of a Regime’

24-year-old, Amie, a kindergarten teacher was part of a peaceful protest in 2016 when she was picked up by members of the former Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh’s, security forces. She was held incommunicado for 10 days at one of their detention sites. She was subjected to beatings with steel pipes and regularly doused in freezing water. One of her fellow protestors was subjected not only to the beatings but to gang rape by three masked police officers. See more on my website floriophoto.com

_____

We are indebted to all the subjects who have invited us into their homes, their lives, so far, and shared their harrowing stories with us – none of this would be happening without you. Huge thanks to all the team at the Victims Centre, and the Goerte Institute for their support of the exhibition.

And, last but not least, everyone who has supported our GoFundMe campaign, your support and words of encouragement, over these last few months, has been incredible. Because of you, we are able to be in the Gambia today, to carry on building this body of work.

Photographer, Jason Florio, installing the exhibition 'Portraits to Remember' victims and resisters  © Helen Jones-Florio, the gambia
Photographer, Jason Florio, installing the exhibition ‘Portraits to Remember’ © Helen Jones-Florio.

The exhibition is open to all – if you are in the Gambia, please come along!

Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio

#Portraits4PositiveChange

__________

Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio are available for assignments.

For image licensing – Contact here

_______

BEING SOCIAL
@JASONFLORIO /@FLORIOTRAVELS /
@DOORS_FACADES_FLORIO / @FLORIO_GALLERY
INSTAGRAM
PHOTOSTELLSTORIES – FB

Home: Donating the Gambian village chiefs exhibition to the National Centre for Arts & Culture

The handing over of the Gambian village chiefs - the Alkalo's - to Hassoum Ceesay, of the National Centre for Arts and Culture, The Gambia, West Africa
L-R: Jason Florio, Hassoum Ceesay (NCAC), Helen Jones-Florio (‘White Tip’ dog) – the handing over of the Gambian village chiefs – the Alkalo’s – to Hassoum Ceesay, of the National Centre for Arts and Culture, The Gambia, West Africa

 

What goes around: On our most recent trip down to The Gambia, West Africa, we were excited to be able to donate Jason Florio’s award-winning portraits of Gambian village chiefs and elders, ‘Silafando: a gift to you on behalf of my journey‘ to the National Centre for Arts & Culture, in The Gambia.

In April last year, we exhibited the portraits in The Gambia (with huge thanks to the organizers of the Athens Photo Festival, where Florio was invited to exhibit this series, in 2013, for shipping the prints all the way from Greece to West Africa!), which were taken during our 930km walk around one of Africa’s smallest mainland countries, in 2009.

 

Silafando exhibition, Gaya, The Gambia
Opening Night at Gaya Arts Café: Lamin, Abdou & Ebou (2nd & 3rd from left – who were our River Gambia Expedition team mates), Helen, Florio, Sarjo (Abdou’s daughter), and Samba Leigh (who was on the 930km walk) – Gaya Art Cafe exhibition opening

 

Packing the Prints
‘Lion’ dog oversees the packing of the prints, with Florio & Hassoum. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

 

'Lion' overseeIMG_3761
The packing is complete and approved (by ‘Lion’) . Image © Helen Jones-Florio

 

 

Handshake and thanks, Florio & Hassoum
Florio and Hassoum shake hands. The village chief exhibition on route to the National Centre for Arts & Culture, in Banjul, The Gambia. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

 

In the coming months, once we hear back from Hassoum, Baba Ceesay, and all at the NCAC, we’ll be posting more news as to where the portraits will eventually be housed and exhibited, in their permenant collection, in The Gambia next.

Helen Jones-Florio

Youtube: Directing Gambian chiefs and corralling kids! The photo exhibition is extended

We are delighted to announce that we have been asked to extend the original closing date, 30th April, 2015, of the ‘Silafando’ exhibition, at Gaya Art Café, here in The Gambia, until the middle of May. So, for those of you who missed it, then the exhibition is open for public viewing – with the portraits, inside and outside the venue – Monday-Saturday, 12 noon-late.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 8.24.28 AM
Jason Florio photographs village chief – (Alkalo) Landing Jammeh – of Khalaji, The Gambian, West Africa – click here or on above images to watch footage – by Helen Jones-Florio, 2009

 

We then realised that the tree was the only real shade in the village – of Khalaji – and (something we should have known by this point) its where the whole village congregate, to sit and chew the fat, at the end of their working day. So, along they came, a steady stream of villagers, until our camp site was surrounded by very vociferous, curious kids, and adults alike. They brought wooden benches and stools, plastic chairs and, in one particular case, a women brought her sewing, whilst another two women sat and plaited each others hair. Our team was fast becoming the free entertainment, and amusement, well into the darkness of the evening – rather like starring in our very own live reality tv show!‘ ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km Africa odyssey‘ words © Helen Jones-Florio – read more about this particular shoot here.

 

'Silafando' The Gambia © Jason Florio
Alkalo, Landing Jammeh – ‘Silafando’ The Gambia © Jason Florio

 

The Alkalos – Gambian village chiefs – have been around the world and now they are back where they belong, on exhibit in The Gambia, West Africa. And, it’s with huge thanks to the curators at Athens Photo Festival (APhF:15), in Greece, where they were last exhibited – the ‘Silafando’ body of work, in 2013 – and where Florio was invited to present his work, from the last fifteen years,  as a photojournalist.

ATHENS2 PHOTO FESTIVAL
‘Silafando’ – APhF:15, Athens, Greece. Image © Jason Florio

 

INSTALLATION2_1988
‘Silafando’ © Jason Florio – Exhibition at Gaya Art Café, The Gambia, West Africa

 

We hope you can make it down to Gaya’s (Bertil Harding Highway, next to Senegambia craft market). If not, then you can view Jason Florio’s ‘Silafando’ series on his website.

The Florios – Helen & Jason

A Short Walk in The Gambian Bush
A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush, 2009

 

Related posts: Exhibition opening night, Gaya Art Cafe

A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush