Tag Archives: portraits

The Photoville FENCE - colour portrait of Gambian schoolgirl, Amie Lowe, from 'Gambia - victims, and resisters' ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

The Photoville FENCE, 2020: ‘The Gambia-victims, and resisters’

We are thrilled to be chosen for The Photoville FENCE, 2020, with ‘Gambia – victims and resisters– an ongoing multimedia body of work that began back in 2016. With the blessing of those we have photographed and filmed, our intention has always been to share their very personal and traumatic stories far and wide. Heartfelt thanks to the FENCE jurors and the Photoville team for helping us to achieve this.

The Photoville FENCE 2020 - Nana Jo Ndow holds a photograph of her father, Saul Ndow who was killed by Gambian security forces. 'Gambia - victims, and resisters' ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
The Photoville FENCE – Nana-Jo Ndow, daughter of Saul Ndow (whose photo she is holding), who, in 2013, was forcibly disappeared from Senegal, along with Mahawa Cham, former Gambian MP. Witness testimonies revealed that they had been abducted and taken over the border into The Gambia, where they were both killed by Jammeh’s hits quad ‘The Junglers‘ Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
#ThePhotovilleFENCE – ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

The Photoville FENCE is a year-round public photography project exhibited in major parks and downtowns across North America. Featuring over 90 photographers annually, the exhibition brings compelling visual stories into the public realm, and to a wide and diverse audience.

The 9th edition will be displayed in Atlanta, Brooklyn, Calgary, Denver, Durham, Houston, Metro (Fargo, W. Fargo and Moorhead), New Orleans, Sarasota, Seattle and Winchester!‘ Read/see more: The Photoville FENCE

The Photoville FENCE 2020 - Portrait of Sgt Basiru Camara and the remains of an exhumation in The Gambia. 'Gambia - victims, and resisters' ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
The Photoville FENCE – Sgt Basiru Camara, killed by Gambian security forces in 1994 and the remains of an exhumation, Yundum Barracks, The Gambia, in 2019. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

President Yahya Jammeh ruled The Gambia with an iron fist for twenty two years after taking control of the country with a coup in July1994. With Jammeh’s exile after electoral defeat in 2016, a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) was set up to look into his regime’s abuses. The TRRC along with victims families and local media at Yundum army Barracks where the bodies of seven murdered soldiers were exhumed. The soldiers were murdered by soldiers loyal to Jammeh for being allegedly part of a counter coup in November 1994. Witnesses say eleven soldiers were buried at the barracks, so far only seven have been found. Along with the bone fragments, electrical cables were also found that were used to bind the victims hands. The only clothing found were underwear, corroborating witness testimonies that the men were stripped almost naked before being shot.

#ThePhotovilleFENCE
Gambia Portraits - Fatoumatta Sandeng, daughter of murdered activist, Solo Sandeng, whilst she was in exile in Dakar Senegal © Jason Florio
The Photoville FENCE – Fatoumatta Sandeng, daughter of murdered Gambian opposition leader, Solo Sandeng. She escaped into exile to Senegal after her father’s murder in 2016 – at the hands of Yahya Jammeh’s security forces – fearful that she would be targeted next ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
#Portraits4PositiveChange

From 1994 -2017 President Yahya Jammeh ruled the Gambia, West Africa, as his own personal fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition, with brutality.

His personal hit squad and intelligence agency carried out tortures, and assassinations with impunity – journalists were gunned down and disappeared, ministers were jailed, students shot in cold blood, and even his own brother and sister were murdered on his orders. 

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

Exhibiting at Photoville, NYC, 2013: Teamwork ‘River Gambia – 1044km source-sea African odyssey’ expedition – Image of Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

Please vote for us and a chance for our work to be chosen for the People’s Choice Winner of the 9th edition of the Photoville FENCE!!

Cast your vote for the People’s Choice Winner of the 9th edition of the Photoville FENCE! Help decide the artist who will receive a Leica camera package and a yearlong mentorship with the Photoville team. 

Individuals may cast one vote per day from now through January 2021. 

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Header image: Gambian student, Ami Lowe.

“I grew up not knowing the love of a father. I was only three years old when he disappeared, so I don’t remember him. I only know him through what people have told me, that he was a good man, and some say he was a hero.” Amie Lowe

17 year old Amie Lowe photographed in her late father’s room, left unchanged since he was killed in 2006. Amie’s father, Lt Ebou Lowe was disappeared and executed by members of the former president, Yahya Jammeh’s hit squad, ‘the Junglers’, after he was accused of being part of a coup attempt in 2006 to overthrow the dictatorial Jammeh regime. Image ©Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

View more portraits from this on-going, multimedia, series on Jason Florio’s website floriophoto.com

Victims of Jammeh - portraits by Jason Florio, The Gambia
‘Gambia – victims, and resisters‘ – Binta Tunkara looking at a photo of her late father on her phone. Bintu is the daughter of murdered Gambian, Lamin Tunkara. He was part of a group of 56 West African migrants who were murdered. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
Watch: ‘I Cannot Bury My Father’ – short documentary about the murder of 56 West African migrants, in 2005, in The Gambia, by Yahya Jammeh’s security forces

CURRENT LOCATION: OCTOBER 2020 – THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA

Assignment queries, and image licensing – Contact here

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PRESS: El Pais - 'Gambia, The Hidden Horrors of Africa's Silent Dictatorship'. Images by Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

Press: El Pais – ‘Gambia, The Hidden Horrors of Africa’s Silent Dictatorship’

Press: El Pais – Gambia, The Hidden Horrors of Africa’s Silent Dictatorship

– Three years after the fall of the Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh, pressured by the street after losing at the polls, a commission (Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations – TRRC) brings to light the terrible crimes committed for two decades, supported by its apparatus of repression, the collusion of justice and the outside inaction – Read the full feature El Pais / words by José Naranjo Noble

Victims of Jammeh - portraits by Jason Florio, The Gambia
Portrait © Jason Florio – 13year old Bintu Tunkara looks at a photograph of the father who she never got to meet, on her mother’s phone. Image © Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

The images are from the on-going multimedia series

by Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

PRESS: El Pais - 'Gambia, The Hidden Horrors of Africa's Silent Dictatorship'. Images by Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
Press: El Pais – ‘Gambia, The Hidden Horrors of Africa’s Silent Dictatorship’. Read more about the featured images ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

#Portraits4PositiveChange

Current Location: July 2020 – coming out of Lockdown London, UK

Assignment queries and image licensing – Contact here

@jasonfloriorio / @floriotravels  / @jasonflorio_photoprints– Instagram

Vimeo / Motion

floriophotoNYC – Twitter

Jason Florio Photojournalist – FB

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The Gambia – finding truth and reconciliation

TRRC billboard, depicting portraits from ‘Gambia – victims. and resisters’ Image ©Jason Florio, The Gambia, West Africa

The tiny West African republic, The Gambia, is a popular winter-sun holiday destination for Europeans. However, most tourists have little idea of the dark and shattered underbelly of ‘The Smiling Coast of Africa’, as the Gambia is fondly called. From 1994 -2017 President Yahya Jammeh ruled the Gambia as his fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition with brutality. His personal hit squad and National Intelligence Agency carried out tortures, assassinations, and acts of sexual violence with impunity – journalists were gunned down and disappeared, students shot in cold blood, and even his cousins were murdered on his order. 

A Gambian man wears a t-shirt of murdered newspaper editor and journalist, Deyda Hydara (June 9, 1946 – December 16, 2004). Hydara was assassinated by Gambian security forces on the orders of President Yahya Jammeh. Image ©Jason Florio
A Gambian man wears a t-shirt of murdered newspaper editor and journalist, Deyda Hydara (June 9, 1946 – December 16, 2004). Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

In October 2018 the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) launched in The Gambia – a televised commission investigating the human rights violations under the 22-year dictatorial rule of President Yahya Jammeh. The TRRC, suspended over the past couple of months due to COVID19, resumed on Monday 8th June 2020, hearing testimonies from the victims and survivors of Jammeh’s rule, along with those of the alleged perpetrators. It is a long, and extremely painful process for many, to finally have their voices heard, but also to see and hear the voices of those who are implicated in meting out shocking tortures, killings, and human rights abuses, and about what happened to their loved ones. 

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

#Portraits4PostiveChange

For over three years, we have been collaborating closely with the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations, and the TRRC; and have created permanent and mobile exhibitions of the portraits and testimonies. The exhibitions have now become part of Victims Centre and TRRC outreach work around the country, to bring the stories of victims to the people, to create dialogue and discussion around human rights and justice in this fledgling democracy – in hopes of opening eyes and winning hearts and minds. And, we will continue making the portraits and filming testimonies once flights to Gambia resume after the lockdown.

Portrait of Amie Lowe - daughter of Ebou Lowe, a soldier executed on Yahya Jammeh's orders after being accused of a coup attempt, The Gambia, West Africa. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
Amie Lowe – daughter of Ebou Lowe, a soldier executed on Jammeh’s orders after being accused of a coup attempt. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
Portrait of Sankung Balajo - victims of President Yahya Jammeh's witch hunts, The Gambia, in 2009 © Jason Florio
Sankung Balajo – victim of President Yahya Jammeh’s ‘witch hunts’, The Gambia © Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

The Gambia – finding truth and reconciliation

Amie Bayo - portrait, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio 'Gambia - Victims and Resisters of a Regime',
Amie Bayo – Arrested after a peaceful protest, held for 11 days without due process, during which time she was beaten by security forces. © Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
'Victims of Jammeh' The Gambia, West Africa - portraits by Jason Florio
Portraits from ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’ The Gambia, West Africa. Images ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
Photography exhibition opening night at the National Centre for Arts and Culture, Banjul. Portraits ©Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio Gambia-victims, and resisters, Portraits to Remember
Opening night of ‘Portraits to Remember’ exhibition at the National Centre for Arts & Culture, Banjul, The Gambia, in collaboration with ANEKED & Sites of Conscience. Portraits on display ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio. Exhibition Image ©Jason Florio

Current Location: June 2020 – easing lockdown in the UK

Assignment queries and image licensing – Contact here

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In isolation between a ‘Rock and a Hot Place’

In isolation between a ‘Rock and a Hot Place‘ – we arrived in the UK just over a month ago, for a short break from our assignments in The Gambia, West Africa. We had intended to head to the small island of Malta, which we have called our other home for the past five years. After this, we planned to return to The Gambia to continue our projects.

However, the days following our return to the UK Malta closed its airport, soon followed by The Gambia. So, we find ourselves grounded, literally, here in the UK at my mother’s house – waiting for the skies to open again. In the meantime, I watch her English country garden slowly break bud and bloom, and Helen as the light finds her in our roost above the barn – whilst, all the time wildly conscious of the struggle around us, the fight for life… Jason Florio

Our niece, who is isolating with her family, keeping her social distance, but echoing her uncle with her camera ©Jason Florio April 2020

In isolation between a ‘Rock and a Hot Place’

My Mum, who is self-isolating, wearing a mask outside and keeping her social distance (her dog. Space, is in the background) ©Jason Florio April 2020

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Helen, with ‘Space’ dog ©Jason Florio

See more of my documentary, and film, work on my website:

floriophoto.com

Location: April 2020 – Currently, physical-distancing in the UK

Assignment queries and image licensing – Contact here

In isolation between a ‘Rock and a Hot Place‘ - photojournalist Jason Florio, standing with his mum's dog, 'Space'. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio, April 2020
In isolation between a ‘Rock and a Hot Place‘ – photographer, Jason Florio, with his mum’s dog, ‘Space’. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio, April 2020

Location: April 2020 – Currently, physical-distancing in the UK

Assignment queries and image licensing – Contact here

@jasonflorio / @floriotravels  / @jasonflorio_photoprints– Instagram

Jason Florio – Vimeo / Motion

floriophotoNYC – Twitter

Jason Florio Photojournalist – FB

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