Tuesday 24th March, 2020: The first day of the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s lockdown to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In Central London the streets were abnormally quiet, it felt as if nearly all of society had been sieved away, and only the homeless were left on the almost deserted streets. London has an estimated 170,000 homeless.
New work from our long form multi-media project –‘The Gambia – Victims and Resisters’: The family of Lt Ebou Lowe. Ebou was disappeared and executed by members former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh’s hit squad, the ‘Junglers’, after he was accused of being part of a coup attempt in 2006 to overthrow the dictatorial Jammeh regime.
Ebou Lowe’s daughter, Amie Lowe, photographed in her father’s room, left unchanged since he was disappeared in 2006 – “I grew up not knowing the love of a father. I was only three years old when he disappeared, so I don’t remember him. I only know him through what people have told me, that he was a good man, and some say he was a hero.”
Ebou Lowe’s sister, Zainab Lowe-Baldeh – “The road to justice is a long one for us but we hang tight. Ebou Lowe was a pillar to the family and a father of four, and was taken without a trace…knowing what has happened from the Truth Commission (TRRC) feels like a needle in a haystack.” Zainab is the co-founder of the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human-Rights Violations – a victim support group, now with over one thousand registered members.
The exhibition runs through March 24th, 2020, at the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC museum gardens), Banjul. It is free and open to all. Please visit the museum website for opening hours. A selection of portraits, from the ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’series are being exhibited, in a collaboration with ANEKED (African Network against Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances) NGO.
Our Photos Tell StoriesPhotojournalism 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 ‘thebackway‘.
“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
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.
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 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.