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Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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French photographer exhibits portraits telling stories of Jammeh victims

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By Tabora Bojang

Women’s Association for Victims Empowerment WAVE and Alliance Francaise Banjul Thursday displayed a unique photography exhibiting portraits of former president Jammeh’s victims and survivors.

The exhibits are works of French international photographer and multiple award winner Lorraine Turci, who won the International Women in Photo Association (IWPA) Special Mention award 2023. Lorraine was invited to Banjul for a two-month artistic residency program by the Alliance Francaise during which she interacted with civil society organisations and communities inspiring her to tell stories of women victims in photographs and text. Jammeh is accused of perpetuating widespread human rights violations including murder, torture and enforced disappearances during his 22 years rule.

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Speaking at the exhibition, Ms Lorraine said: “I met many people in The Gambia and there are too many stories but the stories of these women are so powerful that they cannot be ignored. It is about human rights and people [victims] seeking justice, reparations and accountability. I want to thank the victims and their association for the confidence and for giving me the authorisation. I am really proud to be able to make these stories known outside the Gambia. That is my purpose.”

WAVE co-founder Priscilla Yagu Ceesay, stated that exhibited photographs and the unique stories goes beyond memorialising the victims but a reminder for the government and other actors to collectively commit and actualise the “Never Again” campaign.

Alliance Francaise director Justine Guschaulbauer, said: “We are happy that we are succeeding in our goals, bringing people together talking about societal issues through arts and culture. This cooperation is really important because human rights is an important subject for us and we want to help spread the word in the Gambia.

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She disclosed that the portraits will also be exhibited in France. “Meanwhile they will remain in display for a month at the Alliance Francaise before they will be displayed in different places in The Gambia,” she said.

Awa Njie, widow of Abdoulie Dot Faal who was extrajudicially killed by the security forces in the November 11 1994 incident, said: “This exhibition is sending chilling messages to the world. And those with understanding will know that we have suffered a lot since 1994 up to now. And I think it is high time for the government to realise that we are victims of enforced disappearances and that we need justice and reparations.

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