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Lens on Life
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Benrubi Gallery

6/22/2017 to 8/25/2017
When: Thursday, June 22, 2017
Where: Benrubi Gallery
United States

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Benrubi Gallery is proud to present Lens on Life Project, a photographic project organized by brothers Sam and Jack Powers. In 2016, the Powerses led a week-long photography workshop entitled Operation Goma in North Kivu, one of the most volatile provinces in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Powers brothers traveled to North Kivu at the behest of Camme, a Congolese non-profit organization “providing education, entrepreneurship, and social services and life skills for children” in the DRC. Their goal was to provide a setting in which vulnerable young people could both share their stories and gain a new skill to enter the global marketplace. All proceeds from the exhibition will go directly to Camme, for the construction of a media building where workshops on photography and computer literacy will be held.

All the photographs in Lens on Life were taken by children who have been orphaned, abused, or otherwise victimized by the Second Congo War, which has claimed more than 5.4 million lives since 1998. Despite this, the images emphasize community rather than trauma. Social bonds take precedence over social disarray, challenging the traditional Western narrative about life in “war-torn Africa.” Though the poverty of the region is visible in many of the pictures, it is never more than backdrop to the images’ human subjects. People are depicted at work, at play, and at rest, and have a clear sense of agency in their representation. The images aren’t a kind of naive photojournalism, but, rather, an intimate portrait of individuals who are going about their lives in circumstances that are materially very different to most Westerners, but otherwise more familiar than we might have expected.


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