Jason Florio – making #Portraits4PositiveChange, The Gambia

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

 

‘Gambia – Victims, and Resisters of a Regime’ 

#Portraits4PositiveChange

 

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.

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

This is a work in progress in collaboration with the GCHRV

 

Portraits4PositiveChange, Gambia - Ami Bayo ©Jason Florio
Portrait of Ami Bayo, the Gambia ©Jason Florio.

 

See more from ‘Gambia – Victims and Resisters of a Regime’ by Jason Florio on his website floriophoto.com. Find out how you can be part of #Portraits4PositiveChange on our GoFundMe page.

Wishing you all a happy and peaceful 2019

Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio 

Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio, Essau, The Gambia. Image courtesy Madi Sonko
Essau, The Gambia. Image courtesy Madi Sonko, Dec 2018

 

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The Gambia – Photographer/filmmaker, Jason Florio, making #Portraits4PositiveChange

 Jason Florio, with Yusepha Mbye, who was shot in the back by security forces in 2000 student protest - making #Portraits4PositiveChange #Gambia - image, Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio
Jason Florio – making #Portraits4PositiveChange, the Gambia – image, Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

 

‘Gambia – Victims, and Resisters of a Regime’
#portraits4positivechange

On location, in The Gambia: Yesterday Jason Florio photographed Yusepha, who was shot in the back by the Yahya Jammeh regime’s security forces, during a peaceful student protest in April 2000. He is paralyzed from the neck down. He was just 18 years old.

The April 2000 Gambian student massacre was the killing of 14 people (and one accidental death) by Gambian police officers and soldiers on the 10 April 2000 at a student protest in Banjul, the Gambia.

Please check out our GoFundMe page for more info on this project, or to donate/share.

 

Jugana Susso, was arrested and detained during a peaceful demonstration by President Jammeh's feared security services. She was tortured and beaten so badly on her legs she has problems walking even around her own home ©Jason Florio
Jugana Susso, was arrested and detained during a peaceful demonstration by President Jammeh’s feared security services ©Jason Florio

GoFundMe: Gambia-Victims, and Resisters of a Regime – #Portraits4PositiveChange ©Jason Florio

Portrait of ex-Mile2 prisoner, Ballo Kanteh, the Gambia ©Jason Florio
Ballo Kanteh – an ex-political prisoner, he shows the burns he suffered after melted plastic was dripped onto his skin by Jammeh’s hit-squad, the Junglers. Kanteh spent 18-year detention at the notorious Mile 2 prison – for the first two years, he was held in solitary confinement in a pitch dark cell, which has permanently damaged his eyesight ©Jason Florio

GoFundMe: The Gambia – Victims, and Resister of a Regime  

  • To face the past, victims, and resisters, of the Jammeh regime come forward – #Portraits4PostiveChange

‘In a global political climate where authoritarian rule is on the rise  – where autocratic leaders crush dissent, and opposition, with brutality and little or no regard for human rights – it is essential to keep telling the stories of the victims of such regimes.

Your support will enable us to continue our work, to create an extensive body of portraits of the victims of the 22-year brutal dictatorship of the Yahya Jammeh’s regime, as a tool for positive change and advocacy…’Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio 

The wife and son of Harouna Jammeh, who was murdered along with his sister on the orders of his brother, former president Yahya Jammeh ©Jason Florio
The wife and son of Harouna Jammeh, who was murdered along with his sister on the orders of his brother, former president Yahya Jammeh. Harouna’s daughter, Ayeshah Jammeh, has since co-founded the ‘Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations‘ – Image ©Jason Florio 

 

Please check out our GoFundMe campaign to find out more and why this is so important… and help spread the word, by sharing on social media. We’ll thank everyone, individually. And, if you donate, we’ll send you a handmade postcard, once we get to the Gambia. 

GoFund Me #Portraits4PostiveChange Gambia

 

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#ThrowBackMonday – Behind the scenes : Jason Florio’s portrait of ‘Samba Fishing’ – River Gambia, West Africa

‘Samba Fishing’, Kuntaur, River Gambia ©Jason Florio 

 

During our time canoeing the length of the River Gambia, on our exploration of the people whose livelihoods depend on the river, we spent each night wild camping on the river bank – whether it be camping on a sandbank in the middle of the river (burning a fire all night long to deter the hippos!), on rocky outcrops miles from the nearest village and, at other times, on the edge of a village, if it was near enough to the river.

Jason Florio photographs Samba, a young fisherman, in Kuntaur, whilst on the River Gambia Expedition. Image © Helen Jones-Florio
Jason Florio photographs Samba, a young fisherman, River Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio.

 

On this particular day, we arrived mid-afternoon into the village of Kuntaur, situated on the banks of the river. We had stayed in the village before, whilst on our 2009 ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush‘. We set up our campsite in the grounds of a small riverbank lodge and, as had become the norm, our arrival instantly attracted hordes of local kids – shouting and screaming, all vying for our attention, fascinated with our tents and equipment – before the caretaker of the lodge shooed them away, “atchayah! atchayah!” (go away, get lost! A Mandinka word Gambians use to scatter mischievous kids and the scores of scavenging bush dogs alike!).

'Any chance of a bit of privacy?' Camping in a the village chiefs compound comes at a price ©Jason Florio
‘Any chance of a bit of privacy?’ Helen – Camping in the village chiefs compound comes at a price ©Jason Florio.

 

As we were about to settle down for a well-deserved cup of tea, having paddled almost 33km that day – a tough, exhausting 10km of it against the tide – we noticed a young boy, out on the river, in a local pirogue that looked far too big for him to handle on his own. We called him over and he paddled towards us with such ease and dexterity, as if he was steering a small rubber dinghy and not a heavy wooden dugout canoe, carved from a tree trunk.

His name was Samba and he said that he was ‘11 or 12 years old‘ (it’s not unusual, in this part of the world, for people not knowing exactly how old they are). He had come straight from school, to pull in his families fishing nets from the river, to see what catch they had that day…‘ Exert/words ©Helen Jones-Florio – read more at ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey

'Samba Fishing' River Gambia, fine art photography prints © Jason Florio '
‘Samba Fishing’ fine art photography prints © Jason Florio ‘

 

Jason Florio’s fine art photography prints – available from helenjonesflorio.com

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