"Human rights human wrongs" examines whether images of political struggle, suffering and victims of violence work for or against humanitarian objectives. Alfredo Jaar highlights ignored contemporary tragedies, such as genocides, epidemics and famines, and promotes cultural change. Clive Holden asks the questions: Is it un-American to be un-famous and are Americans failures if they die without fame? Captive State explores Dominic Nahr's 2011 travels to Mogadishu with Alex Perry to document the famine in Southern Somalia.
The RIC is an international centre of excellence at Ryerson University, dedicated to the public exhibition, research, study and teaching of photography and related disciplines, including new media, installation art and film.
The following exhibitions are currently on view at the Ryerson Image Centre:
HUMAN RIGHTS HUMAN WRONGS
Curated by Mark Sealy
Using the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a point of departure, HUMAN RIGHTS HUMAN WRONGS examines whether images of political struggle, suffering and victims of violence work for or against humanitarian objectives, especially when considering questions of race, representation, ethical responsibility and the cultural position of the photographer.
Featuring more than 300 original prints from the prestigious Black Star Collection, HUMAN RIGHTS HUMAN WRONGS begins circa 1945 and includes photographs of well-known Civil Rights Movement events such as the Selma to Montgomery March and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The exhibition also features images of the independence movements in many African countries, a selection of portraits of Nobel Peace Prize winners, and photographs, magazines and books which document protests, war and conflict from the Vietnam War to the Rwandan Genocide in 1994.
The exhibition functions as a catalytic enquiry into photojournalistic practice, addressing the legacy of how photographs have historically functioned in raising awareness of international conflict. It critically considers the cultural meaning these photographs produce, how inhumane acts are rendered photographically for us to look at, and the visual legacy they leave behind. We see the wide dissemination of photographic images of humankind in abject, euphoric or violently explicit conditions. How do these images assist us in understanding the case for civil and human rights?
Guest Curator Mark Sealy has a special interest in photography and its relationship to social change, identity politics and human rights.
Since 1991 as director of Autograph ABP he has initiated the production of many publications, exhibitions and residency projects and commissioned photographers and filmmakers worldwide. In 2002, he jointly initiated and developed a £7.96 million capital building project (Rivington Place), which opened in 2007 and developed in partnership with the Institute of International Visual Arts.
He has written for several international photography publications, including Foam Magazine (Amsterdam), Aperture (New York) and Next Level (London). Published in 2002, Sealy’s book project published by Phaidon Press Limited entitled Different, focuses on photography and identity and is produced in partnership with Professor Stuart Hall.
His most recent curated projects include the commissioning of The Unfinished Conversation a film-work by John Akomfrah on the political life of Professor Stuart Hall first staged at the Bluecoat Gallery as part of the Liverpool Biennial 2012. Roma-Sinti-Kale-Manush, a group show that examined the representation of Roma Communities across Europe was on display at Rivington Place (London) from May 25 to July 28, 2012.
He has served as a jury member for several prestigious photography awards including the World Press Photo Competition. He has also guest lectured extensively throughout the UK and abroad including The Royal College of Art and has recently devised MA studies programs for Sotheby’s Institute of Art on global photography.
Sealy is currently a PhD candidate at Durham Centre for Advanced Photographic Studies at Durham University, England. His research and curatorial practice focuses on photography and cultural violence.
In February 2010, Mark Sealy conducted an interview with Civil Rights photographers Bob Fitch and Matt Herron.
Presented by TD Bank Group.
In Alfredo Jaar
The Politics of Images
curated by Dr. Gaëlle Morel
Focusing on human rights, the Chilean-born, New York-based artist addresses political concerns and the relationship between ethics and aesthetics. His œuvre highlights ignored contemporary tragedies, such as genocides, epidemics and famines, and promotes cultural change.
In his works “Searching for Africa in Life” (1996) and “From Time to Time” (2006), Alfredo Jaar displays covers of news magazines to analyze the lack of visibility and the visual clichés about Africa disseminated in Western culture.
The artist’s three-channel video “We Wish to Inform You That We Didn’t Know” (2010), his most recent project on the genocide in Rwanda, acts as an epilogue to “The Rwanda Project, 1994-2000”, a series of twenty-five artworks developed to critique the world’s indifference and inaction to this mass murder.
Alfredo Jaar: The Politics of Images is made possible with the generous support of the artis
Is it un-American to be un-famous? Are Americans failures if they die without fame?
Drawing from the Black Star Collection at Ryerson University, Clive Holden creates UNAMERICAN UNFAMOUS using the “un-famous” as an organizing principle in his selection of one hundred image details and faces. Plucked from obscurity, these people can be found in the backgrounds of famous photographs, or simply hidden in the depths of a photographic archive. At times they are literally seen over the shoulders of celebrities in the iconic photographs that capture the “American Century”.
The work’s media tile construction is made with a hybrid adaptation of photographic, cinematic, and web tools. Its many cultural influences arise from a wide variety of media and genres as the work spans the divide between time-based and non-time-based art forms. It also uses film leader as raw material (the beginning and end pieces of film reels). With a complex series of randomizing algorithms, these film loops are juxtaposed and continually remixed with the “unsung human leaders” found in the Black Star Collection, as well as with photographs of local un-famous un-Americans nominated by members of the general public. The work will evolve over the course of the exhibition as more images are submitted via social media.
You are invited to nominate a photograph of someone who is both un-American and unjustly un-famous for inclusion in UNAMERICAN UNFAMOUS. Nominations will be accepted until March 15th, 2013. Details are online at www.unamericanunfamous.com
January 23 – March 10, 2013
In August 2011, Dominic Nahr travelled to Mogadishu with Alex Perry (TIME’s Africa Bureau Chief) to document the famine in Southern Somalia. They found overwhelming suffering and death. Around 150,000 of the 2.8 million Somalis affected eventually starved to death. Almost as appalling was the knowledge that a US anti-terrorism policy unwittingly blocked aid to the famine areas for years. Perry writes, “if drought set the conditions for last year’s famine in East Africa, it was man who ensured it.” When Nahr and Perry returned the Mogadishu the following year, the improvements were tangible. Al-Shabab had been cleared from the city by an African Union force. But as Perry states, “if Mogadishu was enjoying its longest sustained peace in 21 years of civil war, you couldn’t mistake that for a return to normality.”
Dominic Nahr graduated from the photography program at Ryerson University in 2008. He is represented by O’Born Contemporary in Toronto, and is a TIME Contract Photographer and Magnum Photos Nominee.
From the Archive
From the Archive begins a new series, where guest curators are invited to select photographs from the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) Collection that will be displayed in vitrines located in the Great Hall of the gallery. RIC Director, Doina Popescu, explains that From the Archive “opens up the collection in exciting new ways to colleagues and friends of the Ryerson Image Centre, allowing them to participate directly in the activities of the centre and to share their personal selections and points of view with our visitors.”
Sheldon Levy, President of Ryerson University, is the first guest to make a selection of prints from the Black Star Collection. President Levy selected images by Civil Rights photographers Bob Fitch and Matt Herron, which will be on view from January 23 through April 14, 2013.
Alfredo Jaar will discuss his most recent projects around the world at a Kodak Lecture titled "It is Difficult" on Thursday, February 28.
Image: Alfredo Jaar
Heather Kelly, Director of Marketing and Communications, Ryerson Image Centre, Ryerson University: T 416 364 5701 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ryerson Image Centre (RIC)
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