#NeverAgainGambia – In Remembrance of Deyda Hydara, June 9, 1946 – December 16, 2004

Gambia - victims and resisters: portrait of a man wearing a t-shirt with a photo of murdered newspaper editor and journalist, Dedyra Hydara ©Jason Florio
A young Gambian journalist wears a t-shirt of murdered newspaper editor and journalist, Deyda Hydara (June 9, 1946 – December 16, 2004). Image ©Jason Florio

#NeverAgainGambia – Remembering Deyda Hydara, June 9, 1946 – December 16, 2004, The Gambia. Hydara was gunned down by assailants, whilst in his car, as he was returning from work, in 2004. He was a journalist and co-founder of The Point newspaper and an advocate of press freedom. Hydara was also a fierce critic of the government of President Yahya Jammeh, who was openly hostile to Gambian journalists and the media.

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’
#Portraits4PositiveChange

Baba Hydara with the tattoo of his murdered father, Gambia newspaper editor, and journalist, Deyda Hydara, on his arm © Jason Florio
Baba Hydara with the tattoo of his murdered father, Gambian newspaper editor, and journalist, Deyda Hydara, on his arm © Jason Florio

#NeverAgainGambia

July 22nd, 2019 – At Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) on July 22, army officer Lieutenant Malick Jatta named former President Yahya Jammeh as the mastermind behind the murder of prominent editor Deyda Hydara on December 16 , 2004. He said Jammeh had given the direct order to assassinate Hydara, an outspoken critic who was the managing editor and co-owner of independent newspaper The Point. The operation by Jammeh’s infamous hit squad, known as the Junglers, was dubbed “Magic Pen,” Jatta told the commission. CPJ – By Angela Quintal/CPJ Africa Program Coordinator, The Committee to Protect Journalists

#NeverAgainGambia - banner of portraits of victims and resisters, exhibited at the British High Commission, in The Gambia. Portraits ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio
#NeverAgain Gambia – a banner of portraits from the ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’, series by Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio, exhibited at the British High Commission, in The Gambia, Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

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TRRC Billboard – Victims and Resisters #NeverAgainGambia

TRRC Billboard – Gambia victims, and resisters. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange

‘The TRRC is not a court of law. It cannot prosecute or give amnesty. It can only recommend for prosecution or the granting of amnesty’

Billboard – Gambia Victims, and Resisters. Through these portraits and collected testimonies, we share the plight of the victims of the former regime of Yahya Jammeh. Huge respect and thanks to the British High Commission Banjul, the Truth Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC), and UNDPGambia, for their support.

‘Gambia – victims, and Resisters’

See more of this on-going, multi-media, body of work at floriophoto.com. A collaboration between Jason Florio &  Helen Jones-Florio

Jason Florio making #Portraits4PositiveChange, The Gambia – Awa (with her daughter, and mother-in-law) holds her phone with one of the few photographs that she has of her late husband, Omar Barrow, who was a journalist, and International Community Red Cross volunteer. Omar was shot by a uniformed member of Gambia’s security forces during student protests, April 2000, as he was trying to help injured students at the Red Cross Headquarters. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

#Portraits4PositiveChange


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Stories Behind Doors, The Gambia

The gate to the compound of the late Omar Barrow, shot dead by Gambian security forces in 2009. Image © Helen Jones-Florio
The gate to the compound of the late Omar Barrow who was shot dead by Gambian security forces in 2009. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

Stories Behind Doors, The Gambia: Behind this gate is the family compound of ‘the late Omar Barrow’ (which, when asking for directions, is how the house is described by neighbours). On April 10, 2000 – Omar, a journalist, and International Community Red Cross volunteer, was shot by a uniformed member of Gambia’s security forces during student protests, as he was trying to help injured students at the Red Cross Headquarters. Tragically, he was pronounced dead a few hours later at Banjul’s Victoria Hospital. Omar was 28 years old. He is survived by his wife, Awa, and daughter, Fatou (who was only a few months old when her father was killed) – who we met and photographed for our on-going multi-media series, ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters

#StoriesBehindDoors

Photographer, Jason Florio, makes a portrait of Awa Barrow, holding a phone picture of her husband, Omar Barrow, who was shot dead by Gambian security forces, on April 10, 2000, during student protests in The Gambia. Omar's daughter, Fatou, looks on. She was only a few months old when her father was killed. His mother sits in the background. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio
Photographer, Jason Florio, makes a portrait of Awa Barrow, holding a phone picture of her husband, Omar Barrow, who was shot dead by Gambian security forces, on April 10, 2000, during student protests in The Gambia. Omar’s daughter, Fatou, looks on. She was only a few months old when her father was killed. His mother sits in the background. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

#NeverAgainGambia

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‘Portraits for Positive Change’ the Gambia. The story so far…

It’s been an incredibly momentous, emotional – and active! – few months for us both, here in the Gambia. Since we arrived back on the West African coast in February we’ve held two photographic exhibitions of the portraits from our on-going body of work, ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters of a regime

‘Portraits for Positive Change’ Kafo Bayo – arrested on April 14th, 2016 during a peaceful demonstration for electoral reform © Jason Florio

For three days, I did not know who I was, or where I was…my clothes were like, you know, a butchers shirt…covered in blood… Kafo Bayo

Jason Florio, making #Portraits4PositiveChange – image ©Helen Jones-Florio


‘Portraits to Remember’
Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations – March 5th, 2019
With the kind support of the Goethe Institute

Kafo Bayo and some of the other victims in the exhibition at the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations, the Gambia ©Jason Florio

Photo Exhibit Documents Jammeh’s Reign of Terror – The Chronicle

“What I learnt from the interviews with victims is the range of abuses and atrocities that happened here during the 22 years of Jammeh. I have been coming to The Gambia for 20 years and I heard about things happening in the past but I had no idea about the range of abuses, including the use of forced medication, people forced to take HIV treatments. The tourists that came here had no idea about what was going on. Even I as a journalist who been here many times had no idea about what was really going on The Gambia,” Jason told The Chronicle.

Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations – ‘Portraits to Remember’ Exhibition, the Gambia ©Jason Florio


‘Portraits for Positive Change’
British High Commissioners Residence, Banjul – May 21st, 2019
With the kind support of the British High Commission

‘Portraits for Positive Change’ – British High Commissioners Residence, Banjul, the Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio
Jason Florio’s Photographic Stories of Gambia’s Human Rights Abuses – The Chronicle
‘Portraits for Positive Change’ – British High Commissioners Residence, Banjul, the Gambia © Jason Florio
Bintu Nyabally was detained for five days, beaten and raped by three masked security officers at the Gambia Police Intervention Unit HQ, after being arrested during a May 9th, 2016 rally, the Gambia  ©Jason Florio

#NeverAgainGambia

Today, 23rd May 2019, the ‘Portraits for Positive Change’ exhibition was donated, by the British High Commission, to the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), to be used as a tool for advocacy and awareness during their outreach programs around The Gambia. The aim of which is to create a dialogue within communities, to help sensitise people on the plight of the victims – emphasising the importance of victims to come forward and engage in the TRRC process.

British High Commissioner, Sharon Wardle, and the TRRC’s Vice Chairperson, Adelaide Sosseh Gaye, The Gambia © Jason Florio

“Coming to terms with the legacy of the recent past provides the Gambian people an opportunity to reconcile and regain the hope and optimism for the future they so deserve” Sharon Wardle – British High Commissioner to The Gambia

‘Portraits for Positive Change’ (#NeverAgain) – exhibition handover day at the TRRC, The Gambia © Jason Florio

The truth shall set you free…

The next step… which the portraits have already embarked on, is to take the exhibition further, into the international arena. First stop: the portraits were chosen by LensCulture Portrait Awards, in April.

And, on May 27th-29th they will be digitally exhibited – on 10ftx10ft screens – at the Oslo Freedom Forum festival.

The Oslo Freedom Forum is a transformative annual conference where the world’s most engaging human rights advocates, artists, tech entrepreneurs, and world leaders meet to share their stories and brainstorm ways to expand freedom and unleash human potential across the globe.

Now, where to next… watch this space.

Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio

‘Portraits for Positive Change’ exhibition handover to the TRRC, in the Gambia. L-R: Helen Jones-Florio, Essa Jallow, Communications Specialist TRRC, Jason Florio

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Currently working in the Gambia – May 2019

Gambia – Victims, and Resisters of a Regime

#Portraits4PositiveChange

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