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16Feb

I Dream of Congo: Narratives from the Great Lakes

One of the many images on exhibition  by Marcus Bleasdale/VIL

Homeless orphan boys in a child centre in Kinshasa. In the face of personal crisis and disaster, children find a way to create joy in their own lives. Marcus Bleasdale/VIL

 

I Dream of Congo: Narratives from The Great Lakes is an exhibition, which features renowned artists and women from the Democratic Republic of Congo.   Women in eastern Congo were provided with cameras and notebooks and were asked to respond to this phrase – I Dream of Congo, and for one week in December 2012, they documented their lives through photos and writing.  Anne Marie Kalenge, one of the women has participated in the exhibition, wrote: “I have sacrificed my life to build our family home. I wish peace could grow quickly so I can enjoy living in it without the daily threat of displacement.”

With citizen journalism so active in conflict zones, Congo Connect founders say they want to give a voice to the often under-represented communities in Eastern Congo, who are affected by the ongoing conflict, which recently escalated when M23 rebels invaded Goma, North Kivu. ‘I Dream of Congo’ aims to put pressure on UK ministers to address the urgent issues of sexual violence and instability that are blighting eastern Congo at the G8 summit in June in Northern Ireland.

Curated by Leslie Thomas of ART WORKS Projects and produced by Congo Connect – a non-profit organisation, the aim is to raise awareness of human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through the arts, with the vision of celebrating hope and optimism that pervades in the region, despite years of conflict. The exhibition also includes the works of international photographers and writers including Marcus Bleasdale, Adam Hochschild, Lynsey Addario, Tim Butcher, Ron Haviv, William Boyd and Eve Ensler (Founder of One Billion Rising.)

‘I Dream of Congo’ will highlight many of the incredible untold stories of bravery, strength, positivity and innovation from Eastern DRC in order to challenge the viewer to look beyond the usual jaded war reports and the perceived intractability of the issues to gain a fresh perspective.

It is fair to say many of us know or have heard about the Congo and the heinous atrocities being committed against men, women and children. Let us go out and support every effort to bring an end to this crisis that has gone on for too long with the world making excuses as to why things cannot change.

Showing on selected dates at Conway Hall, Holborn, London, ‘I Dream of Congo: Narratives from the Great Lakes’ runs until 23 February 2012. It will also be on tour in other locations in the UK and US.

For more information and to keep up-to-date with the tour go to: Congo Connect

 

Image Credit: Marcus Bleasdale/VIL

 

 


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