2003-04-19 / Community

RockawayArtists Alliance Highlights ‘Unbroken’ Photo Exhibit

RockawayArtists Alliance Highlights ‘Unbroken’ Photo Exhibit

Often seen only as subjects in photojournalism, Afghani and Vietnamese street kids from Ho Chi Minh City and Kabul and young Bhutanese refugees in Nepal used the medium of photography to "speak" about their lives. The result is a unique and powerful exhibition that captures the essence of the human will to survive, and the unquenchable instincts of hope and determination.

Titled Unbroken, to celebrate the indomitable spirit of these forgotten groups, the exhibit opens Saturday, May 10 at the Rockaway Arts Center, sTudio 7 Gallery in Fort Tilden, Rockaway, Queens, New York, and runs through Sunday, June 29.

‘Participatory photography’ skills, taught by the nonprofit organization PhotoVoice, gave these young new photographers the training and cameras that let us see the world through their eyes.

Photos depict fresh and startling scenes of life at the margins. The exhibit aims to share the vision of these children with the public and policymakers, to raise awareness of their situation and to help enact change.

Anna Blackman, PhotoVoice co-founder, describes the organization’s role: "PhotoVoice turns the photojournalism paradigm on its head, providing photojournalism training to those most often seen only as its subject. Unbroken’s photographs come from those usually living on the other side of the lens, whose voices are rarely heard."

Tiffany Fairey, PhotoVoice co-founder, adds: "PhotoVoice is committed to raising awareness by training and distributing the work of these young photographers, so viewers can "hear" the voices of displaced youth everywhere—their challenges, hopes, fears, frustrations and beliefs. Only by listening to them and sharing their vision can the outside world begin to develop ways of allowing these children to thrive."

The photographs in Unbroken have emerged from three PhotoVoice projects: Street Vision (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), Bibin (Kabul, Afghanistan) and The Rose Class (UN run refugee camps in Nepal) projects.

The exhibit is being presented by The Rockaway Artists Alliance, in partnership with the National Park Service/Gateway National Recreation Area and PhotoVoice. Sponsorship for the opening reception and refreshments for the following weekends has been generously provided by Newsday.

PhotoVoice is an independent, nonprofit organization specializing in photographic training for people in need around the world. Working alongside international organizations and local partners, PhotoVoice provides photojournalism workshops on location for those living on the fringes of society. To date, the organization has provided training to nearly 300 participants.

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