On a recent film and photography trip to The Gambia, I met up with Jason Florio, who divides his time between Africa, the Mediterranean, America and the UK. I’d heard of his work through a mutual friend, so the chance to interview Jason about his work covering the migrant crisis, end of a dictator’s rule in West Africa and other stories was an opportunity I grasped with both hands. I expected to meet a man who may be guarded or understandably suspicious of those who may want to interview him as some photojournalists can be; the result of what they have been a witness to, reticent to reveal their subjects in a style or light they had not intended. What or rather who I met, was very different. I found an affable, generous, open man, keen to share his stories for a podcast I wanted to record about his work in photojournalism… Neale James / Breathe Pictures
With Jammeh’s 2016 election defeat, he went into exile after a standoff with regional forces, and the victims of his regime started to come forward.
So far, over 1000 victims and their families have registered with the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations to share their stories and help build international support to bring Jammeh to justice
For three days I did not know who I was…where I was. My clothes, they looked like, you know, like a butchers… (covered in blood) Kafo Bayo
Ya Mammie Ceesay, mother of disappeared Gambian-American businessman Alhaji Mamut Ceesay. Alhaji returned to the Gambia in 2013 with his friend Ebou Jobe to set up a business, but they were allegedly robbed of their money by National Intelligence Agency heads, who later told President Jammeh the businessmen were in the Gambia to overthrow his regime. The two were then allegedly murdered on Jammeh’s command.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words – compelling images & personal accounts at the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations – “Portraits to Remember” exhibition. Sharon Wardle, British High Commissioner to The Gambia
Jason Florio’s work is towards under-reported stories about people living on the margins of society and human rights. His work has been recognised with a number of awards, including The Magnum Photography Award 2017 for his work on migration. He was the first recipient of the Aperture Foundation grant to produce Aperture’s first ever assigned story, ‘This is Libya’. His work is held in a number of public and private collections and has been presented in solo and joint exhibitions in USA, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Available for assignments & for image licensing – Contact here
24-year-old, Amie, a kindergarten teacher was part of a peaceful protest in 2016 when she was picked up by members of the former Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh’s, security forces. She was held incommunicado for 10 days at one of their detention sites. She was subjected to beatings with steel pipes and regularly doused in freezing water. One of her fellow protestors was subjected not only to the beatings but to gang rape by three masked police officers. See more on my website floriophoto.com
We are indebted to all the subjects who have invited us into their homes, their lives, so far, and shared their harrowing stories with us – none of this would be happening without you. Huge thanks to all the team at the Victims Centre, and the Goerte Institute for their support of the exhibition.
And, last but not least, everyone who has supported our GoFundMe campaign, your support and words of encouragement, over these last few months, has been incredible. Because of you, we are able to be in the Gambia today, to carry on building this body of work.
The exhibition is open to all – if you are in the Gambia, please come along!