#GambiaDoors: Doors and Storefronts of The Gambia, West Africa

#GambiaDoors: Doors and Storefronts of The Gambia, West Africa. ‘Fukajai’…secondhand clothes. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

‘Fukajai’ – roughly translates as shake off the dust

#GambiaDoors

#GambiaDoors: Doors & Storefronts - The Gambia, West Africa. Mural's depicting the Mouride Brotherhood's, Lamp Faal and Baye Faal.
#GambiaDoors: Doors and Storefronts of The Gambia, West Africa. Mural’s depicting disciples, Lamp Faal and Baye Faal, of the Mouride Sufi Brotherhood, Banjul. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio



The Mouride Sufi brotherhood is a sect of Islam most prominent in Senegal and The Gambia with headquarters in the city of Touba, Senegal, which is a holy city for the order. Disciples are called Mourides, from the Arabic word murīd (“one who desires”), a term used generally in Sufism to designate a disciple of a spiritual guide.
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#GambiaDoors: Doors & Storefronts, The Gambia, West Africa - barber shop storefront showing hand-painted hairstyles. Image © Helen Jones-Florio
#GambiaDoors: Doors & Storefronts of The Gambia, West Africa: ‘The Standard Barber Shop’, Serrekunda. Image © Helen Jones-Florio


#GambiaDoors

#GambiaDoors: Doors & Storefronts - The Gambia, West Africa. Double-fronted shopfront in Banjul, the capital city of Gambia. Image © Helen Jones-Florio
‘Chemiss’ storefront, Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa.. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

#GambiaDoors

#StoriesBehindDoors – The doorway to Mbye Babou Chune’s home. Mr Chune’s son, Modou Lamin, was 14 years old when he was shot dead during a peaceful student demonstration in The Gambia, April 2000. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

StoriesBehindDoors: The Gambia – In remembrance of the victims, and survivors of a massacre: 10 April 2000 – Modou Lamin Chune, 14 years old, was one of 16 young people shot dead by Gambian paramilitary forces (over two days, 10th and 11th April) when they opened fire on a peaceful demonstration by students. At first, rubber bullets and tear gas was used. When the students refused to disperse, these were replaced by live bullets

#StoriesBehindDoors

“My son was amongst the children massacred by Yahya Jammeh’s security forces… he was trying to escape, running with the other students to save their lives, and he was shot dead as he reached the school gates” Mbye Babou Chune

Montage of doors and storefronts from The Gambia, West Africa, and the Mediterranean island of Malta. Images ©Helen Jones-Florio
#DisappearingMalta & #GambiaDoors montage – doors and storefronts from The Gambia, and a small Mediterranean island.. Images ©Helen Jones-Florio @doors_helenjonesflorio


Photographer, Helen Jones-Florio – #GambiaDoors / #StoriesBehindDoors – Bakau, The Gambia.
Image ©Jason Florio


More of my other place for the love of unique doors and storefronts – #DisappearingMalta

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Current Location: May 2020 – on lockdown in the UK

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The Witch Hunts of 2009 – The Gambia. TRRC Digest Edition 10

‘TRRC Digest Edition 10 is out! The 10th session focused on the witch-hunt campaign ordered by Yahya Jammeh against mostly elderly men and women accused of witchcraft in The Gambia. Read the testimonies here ANEKED (African Network Against Extrajudicial Killings & Enforced Disappearances)

The Witch Hunts of 2009, The Gambia. TRRC Digest  Edition 10. Dodou Sanyang stands beside the bed of his late mother, The Gambia Image © Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
The Witch Hunts of 2009, The Gambia. TRRC Digest Edition 10. Dodou Sanyang stands beside the bed of his late mother. Image © Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

“Green Boys and magicians came around the village, singing, drumming, and dancing, and targeted NRP (UDP) opposition party members” Doudou Sanyang

The Witch Hunts of 2009 – The Gambia. Dodou Sanyang, in the room of his recently deceased mother, Naa Joni Sonko. She was one of over a thousand elderly people abducted on the order of the former president, Yahya Jammeh. Groups of Jammeh’s paramilitary troops along with his youth brigade, The Green Boys, and ‘magicians’ from Guinea, went from village to village as part of a nationwide hunt for witches.

The alleged witches were held for up to five days in secret locations and made to drink ‘Kubehjaro’, a hallucinogenic substance, and then forced to confess to witchcraft. Some were also severely beaten, and robbed by their captors. Some died at the detention sites, and others like Sanyang’s mother suffered years of illness before dying. Many in Sanyang’s village believe the elderly there were not targeted for witchcraft, but because the village had been an opposition stronghold – Essau, Northbank Division, The Gambia.

The Witch Hunts of 2009, The Gambia – Portraits © Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio, taken from the on-going ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’ series
The Witch Hunts of 2009, The Gambia - Sankung Balajo, one of over one thousand elders abducted on the orders of then-President, Yahya Jammeh.. © Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio   
The Witch Hunts of 2009, The Gambia – Sankung Balajo, one of over one thousand elders abducted on the orders of then-President, Yahya Jammeh.. © Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio 

“I was kept for five days. When they forced me to take the medicine (‘Kubehjaro’ a hallucinogenic substance), I could no longer stand up… I fell down on the ground… ” Sankung Balajo

See more of the portraits, used in the past and present TRRC Digest Editions, taken from the ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’ on-going multimedia series – a collaboration between Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

#Portraits4PositiveChange

Opening night of 'The Duty to Remember' exhibition at the National Centre for Arts & Culture, Banjul, The Gambia. A collaboration with ANEKED.  Portraits on display ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio. Exhibition Image ©Jason Florio
Opening night of ‘The Duty to Remember’ exhibition at the National Centre for Arts & Culture, Banjul, The Gambia. A collaboration with ANEKED. Portraits on display ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio. Exhibition Image ©Jason Florio

Current Location: April 2020 – on lockdown in the UK

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Photos Tell Stories: Photojournalism Workshop for IOM, The Gambia – with Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

Photos Tell Stories: Photojournalism Workshop for IOM, The Gambia – field work, with journalists, Soulayman Ceesay and Louise ‘Tina’ Alsan, photographing returnee, Buba. Image © Jason Florio

Our Photos Tell Stories Photojournalism Workshop for IOM, in The Gambia, began last week with a group of young Gambian journalists, selected by the International Organisation for Migration. Our first day, spent in the classroom, included an introduction to photojournalism, and technical skills, with photographer and filmmaker, Jason Florio. He also shared his work of over 18 months aboard a rescue ship – for the NGO, MOAS – where he documented multiple rescues, in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. IOM’s Communication’s Officer, Miko Alazaz, also presented to the class IOM’s ethics of interviewing and photographing returnees of ‘the backway‘.

@Jason Florio/MOAS.EU
Eritrean Yosef Goitom AKA King Josee helps caryy a baby to safety on the RHiB. Rescue of 369 migrants. This was the first rescue of the 2015 MOAS Mission. Image ©Jason Florio ‘Destination Europe’ award-winning images
Photos Tell Stories: Photojournalism Workshop for IOM. Day 1 – all set up and ready to go. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

“Our workshop with photographers, and filmmakers, Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio, this week allowed photojournalists to learn both technical skills and migration dynamics in The Gambia—then headed out to gather empowering and dignifying photos of returnees.” IOM

Photos Tell Stories: Photojournalism Workshop for IOM, The Gambia. Field work, with Malick Saine, and Bubacarr Jallow – photographing returnees who work as drivers out of Tippa Garage, Bakoteh. Image ©Jason Florio

For the remainder of the week, we headed out with the journalists to interview and photograph young Gambian’s who IOM had helped to come back home from Libya, to The Gambia.

Photos Tell Stories: Photojournalism Workshop for IOM, The Gambia field work, with journalists, Sulayman Ceesay and Louise ‘Tina’ Alsan. Image © Jason Florio
Photos Tell Stories: Photojournalism Workshop for IOM, The Gambia. Field work, with journalist, Isatu Bokum – photographing returnee, Fatou. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

Huge thanks to all the journalists involved in the Photos Tell Stories photography workshop – who have produced some incredible work, over the past week – and, to IOM for inviting us to present the workshop. Respect and gratitude, to all the returnees, their friends and family, who agreed to share their very personal stories with us, along with allowing the journalists to photograph them.

The IOM Photojournalism Workshop participants, with Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio – L-R: HJF, Malick Saine, Louise ‘Tina’ Alsan Davis, Sulayman Ceesay, Bubacar Jallow, Isatu Bokum, Jason Florio, Senegambia Hotel, The Gambia, January 2020

The journalists’ images will be part of a forthcoming IOM photography exhibition, about the returnees who they have aided with their reintegration back into Gambian society – more news on the exhibition date, coming soon.

The Florios – Jason & Helen

The day always starts with coffee! Jason Florio, Helen Jones-FlorioPhotos Tell Stories – with journalist, and photojournalist workshop participant, Isatu Bokum. Lana’s, Bambo Junction, The Gambia

January 2020 – Currently in The Gambia, West Africa

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Photography workshops, The Gambia, with Jason Florio

Photography Workshops, The Gambia: Student portrait workshop - Kombos, The Gambia, West Africa, West Africa. Image ©Jason Florio
Photography Workshops, The Gambia: Student portrait workshop – The Gambia, West Africa. Image ©Jason Florio

We had a very timely reminder on FB this morning, about our last photography workshop, in The Gambia, January 2014. Timely, because this time next week we will be holding our next workshop, in-country.

Student portrait photography workshop - The Gambia, West Africa. Image © Ya Ida Drammeh. With Jason Florio
Photography Workshops, The Gambia: Image by workshop student, Ya Ida Drammeh

Photography Workshops, The Gambia

January 2014, Photography Workshop, The Gambia: The students spent most the first day in the classroom with their tutor, photographer and filmmaker, Jason Florio, where he covered the following topics: a brief history of photography; what is a photograph; portraiture; environmental portraiture; reportage; landscape photography (including showing the students images from all of our contributing photographers); guides and techniques; what makes a good photograph; rules of photography (rule of thirds, leading lines, etc.); lighting; editing…

Student portrait workshop - Kombos, The Gambia, West Africa. Image by  Aisha P.Njie. With Jason Florio
Photography Workshops, The Gambia: Image by Aisha P.Njie

The resulting work, by the young students, culminated in an exhibition at Alliance Francaise, in The Gambia

The Gambia - Opening night of Photos Tell Stories exhibition - the photography students with Jason Florio and  Helen Jones-Florio
Photography Workshops, The Gambia: Opening night of Photos Tell Stories exhibition – the photography students with workshop tutors, Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio

PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS, THE GAMBIA

Photography Workshops, The Gambia - Image © Malang Jarju, Kartong, The Gambia
Photography Workshops, Kartong, The Gambia – image by Malang Jarju

Each evening, at the end of the workshop, in each region that we taught, the students’ work was exhibited in the village.

Exhibiting photography students work on a big screen, The Gambia, West Africa ©Jason Florio
Exhibiting the photography students work on a large screen, at night, The Gambia, West Africa ©Jason Florio

PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS, THE GAMBIA

January 2020 Photography Workshops – Keep an eye out for updates from our next workshop – this time, with young Gambian journalists and their photographs of their Gambia.

Photographer & workshop tutors, Jason Florio & helen Jones-Florio, The Gambia
Teaching movement in photography – workshop tutors, Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio by student Gerald Soweh

To find out more about booking a Photos Tell Stories photography workshop, or presentation, check this out.

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