Escaping War: An Exhibition of Photographs Taken by Refugee Children in Uganda and Jordan

Key information

10:30 am to 5:00 pm
Brunei Gallery
Exhibition Rooms
Event type

About this event

Bringing together two very special exhibitions of photographs from two very different parts of the world but with one common theme: life as a refugee through the eyes of children.

In November 2006 International Medical Corps, in partnership with National Geographic, ran an art therapy project called Photo Camp in Southwest Uganda for refugee children from Rwanda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo Camp Uganda proved such a success that another Photo Camp was run in Jordan in the summer of 2009, working with Iraqi and Palestinian refugee children (funded by AusAid).

The aim of both Photo Camps was the same: to inspire young people to explore their lives and communities through the camera’s lens. The use of documentary photography in this way can enable children that have traditionally been the subject of such work to become its creator – to have control over how they are perceived by the rest of the world. Photo camps are designed to amplify the voice of children and young people. All of the participants will have experienced extreme and prolonged suffering as a result of fleeing war and surviving in a new country.

Photo Camp Uganda and Jordan participants were given the opportunity to document their lives and experiences with internationally acclaimed photographers Reza and Ed Kashi.

Reza and Kashi, along with a host of other photographers, taught the students how to describe their personal world and create self-portraits by exploring the world through the lens of a camera. Individual sessions with International Medical Corps mental health staff allow the children to unlock painful experiences and help in addressing their emotional needs. By using photography as a catalyst for discussion, Photo Camps encourage self-expression and awareness among the young refugees, all of whom have felt the strain of the displacement on their communities.

“Photo Camp can give these young people, who have been uprooted or experienced turmoil, strain and hardship, the voice and the opportunity to explore the current state of their lives,” said Terry Garcia, National Geographic’s executive vice president, Mission Programs.

“As an organisation with years of experience implementing art therapy programmes to help in the long-term recovery of conflict-affected populations, we recognise that Photo Camp is a tremendous opportunity for the children and for the world to see their stories,” said Peter Medway, International Medial Corps UK Director of Operations.

The results of the two Photo Camps have been on display previously in London, Washington DC and Los Angeles, but they are brought together at The Brunei Gallery, SOAS for the first time.

A third Photo Camp collaboration between International Medical Corps and National Geographic is planned for 2011 in Haiti