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Ackland showcases African photography on lawn

The Ackland Art Museum is showcasing an outdoor exhibit of photos taken by young girls living in Kibera.
The Ackland Art Museum is showcasing an outdoor exhibit of photos taken by young girls living in Kibera.

The art at the Ackland Art Museum is going out tonight.

An exhibition of photographs depicting daily life in Kibera, Kenya, one of Africa’s largest and poorest slums, will be displayed from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight on the museum’s lawn.

The exhibit, titled “Kibera Illuminated: Lives in East Africa’s Largest Slum,” was organized by Carolina for Kibera, Students for CFK, Student Friends of the Ackland and Ackland Art Museum.

The photographs of Kibera were taken by young girls living in the slum. The girls were given cameras by the CFK program “Binti Pamoja” which means “Daughters United” in Swahili.

Alex Loizias, the Kibera Illuminated program coordinator who spent the summer interning for CFK in the slum, was involved in the project from the beginning.

She said giving cameras to locals rather than visitors grants a different perspective.

“The goal is to really turn the idea of travel photography on its head,” she said.

Hundreds of girls who had no formal training in photography participated in the program over the course of several years.

Displayed on a brick wall in front of Ackland, the eight photos are presented in large boxes that are illuminated from within and resemble television screens. The images depict local women and children living in poverty-stricken situations.

Nic Brown, the director of communications for the Ackland, said this is the first time in at least three years that there has been an entire exhibition outdoors.

“This is unlike anything that we’ve done in recent memory. We’re very excited about the possibility of putting this amazing exhibition on display,” he said.

Ashley Hedges, a first-year graduate student who attended Thursday’s opening, said she was interested by the insider’s perspective of the artwork.

“It is heart-wrenching and a really neat idea. When there’s such terrible things like this and you can illuminate them, it’s amazing,” she said.

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