Press Release: The Brooklyn Children's Museum, New York, Jan. 15 - Mar. 27, 2005

Prepared By: The Rwanda Project
www.rwandaproject.org
Contact: Jenifer Howard 203-273-4246
jhoward1@optonline.net

For Immediate Release

"THROUGH THE EYES OF CHILDREN: THE RWANDA PROJECT
PHOTO EXHIBITION TO BE SHOWN AT THE BROOKLYN CHILDREN’S MUSEUM January 15 – March 27, 2005

(NEW YORK, N.Y., January 7, 2005) -- A unique photography exhibition of photographs taken by children in Rwanda, Through the Eyes of Children: The Rwanda Project, will be shown at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, January 15 through March 27, 2005. The exhibition, which is open to the public Wednesday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., will be in conjunction with another unique cross-cultural photographic project that children from The Brooklyn Children’s Museum participated in entitled Through the Eyes of Brooklyn’s Children. What is so unique about the Rwandan photographic project is that the images were captured by children orphaned by the Rwandan genocide and is the culmination of four years of photographic workshops for the children living at the Imbabazi Orphanage in Gisenyi, Rwanda. The award-winning exhibition has been shown throughout the United States and has traveled throughout Europe and was exhibited at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda and at the United Nations in remembrance of the ten year anniversary of the genocide in April 2004; most recently it was at the Angelika Theater for the premiere of the movie Hotel Rwanda. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is located at 145 Brooklyn Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. For directions or more information, call 718-735-4400 or log onto www.bchildmus.org. For more information on Through the Eyes of Children: The Rwanda Project, visit www.RwandaProject.org.

Standing side by side, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s Through the Eyes of Children exhibition includes many of the photographs taken by the Rwandan children from several photographic workshops conducted with the children in Rwanda. In similar assignments, such as “the view out my window,” “what I eat for dinner,” “my biggest hope,” and “my biggest fear,” are photographs from similar workshops with the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s Kids Crew after school program. In addition to their photographs, The Brooklyn children and the children at the Imbabazi Orphanage in Rwanda also share their lives with each other through a pen pal program, exchanging letters and holiday cards as well as photographs of their lives.

As part of the Through the Eyes of Children exhibition running January 15 through March 27, 2005, The Brooklyn Children’s Museum will also have additional special events including:

    Planet Brooklyn: Picture Our World, Sunday, January 22, 2-6 p.m.– a film and photography festival honoring children across the globe. An array of international films will be shown as well as the opportunity for children to paint a collaborative mural entitled Imagine a Joyous World! in partnership with Amnesty International. Two films will be viewed; families will compare photos from the Rwandan children and the Museum’s Kids Crew after school program, explore their content, and discuss how children interpret their world. Children will create pop-up postcards in an art workshop depicting how they view their world. The postcards will be distributed through Amnesty International to children around the world who are living under a situation of human rights violation. Children will also explore the art of Zulu beading and make friendship necklaces; for the little ones under the age of five, a diversity program called The Colors of Us, based on a book of the same name, will be offered where the children will listen to the story then create self-portraits.

    Through the Eyes of Jacob Lawrence, Thursday, February 10, 3-4 p.m. – View the Rwandan photography exhibition Through the Eyes of Children and compare the exhibit’s photos with work by artist Jacob Lawrence. Create a painting that tells your own story.

Through the Eyes of Children was conceived by photographer David Jiranek and began as a photographic workshop in 2000 that was inspired by and centered on the importance of the children’s perspective and experience. Given disposable cameras, the children, ranging in ages from eight to eighteen, began photographing themselves and their community. The resulting photographs are nothing short of extraordinary (see www.RwandaProject.org to view the photographs). A photograph by 8-year-old Jacqueline entitled "Gadi" won "First Prize - Portraiture" in the 2001 Camera Arts Magazine Photo Contest (in the adult category). Today, the children’s work is traveling around the world in this exhibition that provides a unique look at Rwanda and at the lives of the children affected by the genocide, almost 11 years later. The goal of this project is share with the world the perspective of the children, to provide an opportunity to reflect on the tragedy of the genocide by observing life today through the eyes of Rwanda’s children. Additionally, the project aims to demonstrate to the children of the Imbabazi Orphanage that they have something to share with the world that is meaningful. Through the sale of their photographs, the children receive that message, as well as the means to continue their photography and their education.

The exhibition is currently traveling throughout the United States and will be exhibited at: The Southwest Florida Holocaust Museum, Naples, Fla., January 2-30, 2005; San Francisco University High School, January 14 - February 25, 2005; The Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Brooklyn, N.Y., January 15 - March 27, 2005; The University of Miami, January 18 - February 12, 2005; Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Ga., February 10 - March 18, 2005; in Tarifa, Spain, May 8-15, 2005, and the Pepsico Theater at the State University of New York, Purchase, December 23, 2005.

Many of the children that participate in the Through the Eyes of Children photography project are both Hutu and Tutsi and were injured and orphaned by the 1994 genocide. Today, images continue to play a key part in our memory of the injustices that occurred. Not only has photography served as a major strategy for documenting the atrocity, but it has also been used as a way to reunite children with their families. However, the power of the camera has rarely been in the hands of those affected the most. While many now know about the genocide, most do not fully understand its magnitude. In a mere 100 days while the world (today's modern-day world) stood by, more than 800,000 people were killed. The slaughter of civilians by civilians occurred at a rate of 3-to-4 times that of the Holocaust and resulted in millions of refugees and orphaned children.

“The reception of the children’s photographs by the world community has been nothing short of astounding,” said Joanne McKinney, one of the project’s coordinators. McKinney noted that on their last trip to Rwanda, the group took newspaper articles and videos of television coverage the exhibition has generated in the United States and the children at the Imbabazi Orphanage were beyond excitement with the realization that people around the world appreciated and cared about their photos. Prints of the children’s work is also available for sale, via tax deductible donations to the organization, where the proceeds go back to the children at the Imbabazi Orphanage to help provide for their education and future when they leave the orphanage and are on their own at age 18.

To learn more about The Rwanda Project, view the exhibition schedule, see examples of the children's work, or to help support the program, visit www.rwandaproject.org.



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