Solo Sandeng Memorial March, April 14 2018

Solo Sandeng Memorial March, Gambia, West Africa ©Helen Jones-Florio
Solo Sandeng Memorial March, The Gambia, West Africa ©Helen Jones-Florio

 

The Solo Sandeng Memorial March, April 14th, 2018, The Gambia, took place to commemorate the prominent activist – of the opposition party, UDP, and youth leader –  and other victims. Sandeng was murdered whilst in custody on this day in 2016, under the old dictatorship of Yahya Jammeh. His death sparked a national outcry and the beginning of the end of Jammeh’s brutal rule – Gambians had decided that enough was enough. Today’s march would never have been possible under the former regime, without there blood being shed and/or lives lost

Solo Sandeng Memorial March, The Gambia, West Africa ©Helen Jones-Florio
Solo Sandeng Memorial March, The Gambia, West Africa ©Helen Jones-Florio

 

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The Gambia – stories behind doors

#StoriesBehindDoors, Serrekunda, The Gambia, West Africa ©Helen Jones-Florio

Behind every door, there is a story to be heard…


Making #Portraits4PositiveChange, with Jason Florio, we are meeting victims and survivors of the brutal regime of the former president of the Gambia, Yahya Jammeh. The man, ‘A.K.J.’, who lives behind this door, was shot in the leg by security forces when he took part in a peaceful student protest in April 2000. A.K.J. told us how they opened fire when he and his fellow students were less than 100 meters away. He saw 4-5 students lying dead around him as he waited to be rescued – 14 young people in total were shot dead. Fortunately, for him, the Red Cross came to his aid. He was In hospital for 4 months… He now walks with the aid of a stick.

As I lay wounded, hoping that someone would come and help me, on the ground around me, I could see 4 or 5 bodies… they were not moving…AKJ


'Kafu Bayo' - Stories Behind Doors, the Gambia. Image © Helen Jones-Florio West Africa Gambia Doors
‘Kafu Bayo’ – Stories Behind Doors, the Gambia, West Africa. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

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

Mr. Kafu Bayo, who lives behind this door, was arrested in the Gambia on April 14th, 2016, whilst marching with the opposition leader, Solo Sandeng – who was also arrested at the same time and, tragically, killed whilst in police custody – and many others, for electoral reform. Kafu, along with fellow marchers, was severely beaten, tortured and imprisoned for 8 months. He was in his mid-seventies at the time of his arrest.

See Jason Florio’s portraits, from our on-going series

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters of a regime’


Follow us on Instagram for regular updates on our work in the Gambia, West Africa – @floriotravels / @doors_facades_florio / @jasonflorio.

Helen Jones-Florio

HJF with Oumie Jagne, who was shot in the arm during the 2000 student protests, in the Gambia ©Jason Florio

#GambiaDoors / #StoriesBehindDoors / #Portraits4PositiveChange

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.

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2019 – Currently working on

Gambia – Victims, and Resisters of a Regime

#Portraits4PositiveChange

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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.

#Portraits4PositiveChange The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Ebrima Jabang 'Gambia - Victims and Resisters of a Regime' ©Jason Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange, Victims of Yahya Jammeh
Ebrima Jabang ‘Gambia – Victims and Resisters of a Regime’ ©Jason Florio

 

#Portraits4PositiveChange

The Gambia

© Jason Florio

Ebrima Jabang, age 64, was arrested along with the opposition activist, Solo Sandeng, during the April 14th, 2016 peaceful protest for electoral reform. He was taken to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters, tied face down on a table and tortured by YahyaJammeh’s personal hit squad, the Junglers, permanently losing the sight in his right eye among other internal injuries. Jabang said that he could hear the screams of Solo Sandeng, who was being tortured in another room. Tragically, Sandeng died on the same day, as a result of being tortured. See more of this work-in-progress: floriophoto.com

Photographer, Jason Florio, making #Portraits4PositiveChange,Gambia, West Africa - victims of Yahya Jammeh © Helen Jones-Florio
Photographer, Jason Florio, making #Portraits4PositiveChange, the Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio.

 

Gambia – Victims, and Resisters of a Regime’

Exhibition News: We will be holding the first photography exhibition, in the Gambia, from this particular body of work, early in March 2019. We are really looking forward to exhibiting in the Gambia, again.

Watch this space for more information on that, shortly!

The Florios (Helen & Jason)

Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio - wet plate collodion print portrait courtesy of Marcin Andrzejewski
Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio – wet plate collodion print courtesy of Marcin Andrzejewski.

 

Available for assignments & for image licensing – Contact here

2019 – Currently working on

Gambia – Victims, and Resisters of a Regime’

#Portraits4PositiveChange

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