Contemporary Art History Student, Jon Bottomley curated the photography exhibition: Women Between Peace and War, in The Holden Gallery Cafe Space at MMU. Here he outlines his thinking behind the exhibition and his experience of interviewing the photographer Lynsey Addario.
Women between Peace and War is an examination of the lives lived by women in Afghanistan and in Congo. Each image delicately narrates the situation these individuals have lived through, capturing both the dangers and vulnerable nature of living in an environment with such a harsh climate.
For the images of women living in Congo I focused my attention on Lynsey Addario’s work. As a female photojournalist Lynsey is able to reach individuals who would usually not be allowed to speak about their lives, ‘As a Western woman, I am often put in a different category. I am sort of like the third sex. I am not treated like a man. I am not treated like a woman. I am just treated like a journalist. That is usually really helpful. I am given access to women, and I am given access to scenes where my male colleagues are. They understand we come from a different culture.’ The intimate nature of knowing these women by simply embedding herself in the present situation was something which both interested and motivated me to find out more about these individuals. I was lucky enough to pick up five prints from Lynsey herself and exhibit them in the student gallery space.
The exhibition featuring women in Afghanistan was a pre-packaged exhibition I bought from Artworks projects. The exhibition has been designed as an international awareness campaign that works to ensure that the voices of women and girls are not lost in the ongoing international military and political engagement in Afghanistan.
Artworks projects dedicates its exhibitions and events to human rights, by capturing the issues which persist in the world they offer the chance for individuals to be heard, a way to communicate and a way to educate the audience’s attention on such issues.