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Lenses of Conflict and Peace

Young Kenyans-Group Show (facilitated by Valentina Bau)
This event has concluded
Entry Fee: Free, donations welcome

Project Facilitator: Valentina Bau
Photographers: Esther, Steven, Antony, Kevin, Ritah, Caroline, Mitchel, Brenda, Judith.
In June 2014 I travelled to the Rift Valley of Kenya in one of the areas that were most affected by the 2007/2008 post election-violence. The contested political elections that took place at that time saw the eruption of an intense conflict that was fought mostly along ethnic lines.

Today, the different tribes who fought in the conflict and the families of those who lost their lives in it are living side by side in different mixed-tribe areas across Kenya. Hate, resentment and acts of reprisal are part of people’s daily lives.

While I was there, I facilitated a participatory photography project called Lenses of Conflict and Peace in the largest slum of Eldoret, the main urban centre of the Kenyan Rift Valley. I trained a group of nine young people from different tribal backgrounds in the use of digital cameras. Through the various activities involved in the project, not only did participants gain photography skills, but they also learned about the power of images and the role that they can play in opening up dialogue and creating an understanding between opposing groups. This was possible especially thanks to the storytelling sessions that accompanied each participatory photography exercise.

The photographs arising from this project are divided into four groups:
Conflict: these images express what the conflict meant to participants and to their tribes;
Progress to peace: These images show what has changed in the community of Langas since the end of the violence;
Obstacles to peace: These images show how each tribe feels they are still being affected or discriminated against as a result of the conflict;
Understanding the other tribe: These images show what each participant has learned about someone from a different tribal background thanks to this project, and what they have understood in relation to the events that led to the conflict through the eyes of a different tribe.

While the quality of these images is not necessarily of a high standard, their meaning and stories are of incredible value. In this exhibition, captions are a fundamental component, as they convey the important meaning each image carries for its photographer.

This event has concluded
Entry Fee: Free, donations welcome
© Rob Johnston

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