“What I learned from the interviews with victims is the range of abuses and atrocities that happened here during the 22 years of Jammeh. I have been coming to The Gambia for 20 years and I heard about things happening in the past but I had no idea about the range of abuses, including the use of forced medication, people forced to take HIV treatments. The tourists that came here had no idea about what was going on. Even I as a journalist who been here many times had no idea about what was really going on The Gambia,” Jason told The Chronicle.
23rd May 2019, the ‘Portraits for Positive Change’ exhibition was donated, by the British High Commission, to the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), to be used as a tool for advocacy and awareness during their outreach programs around The Gambia. The aim of which is to create a dialogue within communities, to help sensitise people on the plight of the victims – emphasising the importance of victims to come forward and engage in the TRRC process.
“Coming to terms with the legacy of the recent past provides the Gambian people an opportunity to reconcile and regain the hope and optimism for the future they so deserve” Sharon Wardle – British High Commissioner to The Gambia
The truth shall set you free…
The next step… which the portraits have already embarked on, is to take the exhibition further, into the international arena. First stop: the portraits were chosen by LensCulture Portrait Awards, in April.
The next step… which the portraits have already embarked on, is to take the exhibition further, into the international arena. First stop: the portraits were chosen by LensCulture Portrait Awards, in April
And, on May 27th-29th they will be digitally exhibited – on 10ftx10ft screens – at the Oslo Freedom Forum festival.
The Oslo Freedom Forum is a transformative annual conference where the world’s most engaging human rights advocates, artists, tech entrepreneurs, and world leaders meet to share their stories and brainstorm ways to expand freedom and unleash human potential across the globe.
His focus has been 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 has produced images and documentaries for clients including The New York Times, Smithsonian, IRIN News, The New Yorker, Men’s, Journal, Outside, Bloomberg, Geographical, MIT Technology Review, PepsiCo, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International HIV/Aids Alliance, United Purpose, and the World Bank. He is a contributing editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review. – See more in ‘About‘ & ‘Press‘ on Florio’s website.
multi-award-winning black and white portraits by Jason Florio
‘With little command of the local language, I could only but ask my subjects to stand and look directly into the lens. With little direction on my part, I found that the subjects in front of the camera would become silently quizzical of themselves and how they wanted to be portrayed. I returned every year to Makasutu, up until 2010…’ Jason Florio