In Kony’s Shadow: OXO Tower Wharf
Last week saw the two year anniversary of the release of Kony 2012, a short film made with the intention of drawing enough attention to African war criminal, Joseph Kony, that he be captured and arrested.
As part of his Lord’s Resistance Army regime, Kony, who became prominent in the 1990s, was responsible for the abduction and recruitment of child soldiers in Uganda.
The documentary reached more than 100 million views in just six days. Even Invisible Children Inc, who created the short film, could not have anticipated the rate at which it would spread across the internet.
In order to mark the anniversary, on March 5th, Christian Aid opened In Kony’s Shadow, a photographic exhibition in the ground floor gallery at the OXO Tower Wharf, dedicated to those who survived Kony’s reign of terror.
Though the exhibition is small, it can easily have a big impact on those viewing it. Each portrait photograph is accompanied by a survivor’s story, offering an insight into the lives of people who witnessed the destruction that Kony caused.
One of those survivors was Nekolina Lakot. Her portrait tells the story of how she saw her three sons aged six, eight and 12, beaten to death. Another, Martin Olanya, speaks of how he dug a grave in which to bury members his own family.
Steven Buckley, Head of Communications at Christian Aid, said: “The photographs in this exhibition are full of dignity, despite the horrors which lie behind them.”
The exhibition also showcases images of individuals who have been left injured or scarred as a result of the violence which Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army inflicted. Although these images are horrifying, they play a vital role in representing the aftermath of what went on.
As well as those whose families were massacred, the exhibition also tells the story from an alternative view point; Norman Okello was another form of victim – a child captured at the age of 12 and forced to join, and kill for, the LRA. The exhibition successfully shows how those recruited to kill were just as much victims as anyone else.
Though minimal, this exhibition is very truthful and incredibly hard hitting. For anyone wanting to visit, entry is free of charge and the gallery opens from 11am until 6pm, daily. In Kony’s Shadow closes on March 16th.