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    Archive


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  •  UNBROKEN: PHOTOGRAPHY SUBJECTS SPEAK OUT

    Unbroken: Photography Subjects Speak Out

    Childhood interrupted

    "Unbroken," an exhibition of photographs taken by teenagers as part of an international project, includes moving and often quite beautiful images of children on the streets of Vietnam and the refugee camps of Nepal.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com

    Alert politics-watchers will remember the ad that wasn't seen during this year's Super Bowl — the MoveOn.org commercial that dramatized the growing deficit with images of small children working off the national debt on an assembly line, at a supermarket checkout aisle, on a garbage truck. The irony was the message.

      
    VO CANG THONG, HAP TIEN LONG, YETHI RAJ, BISHUN MAYA
    Exhibition: Unbroken: Photography Subjects Speak Out.
    Photographs by: Vo Cang Thong, Hap Tien Long, Yethi Raj, Bishun Maya and others in the PhotoVoice project.

    Related links: PhotoVoice | K'ipay
     SCHEDULE
    June 10 - July 17, 2004
    Opening reception: June 10, 2004, 6-8 p.m.

    Gallery: Denise Bibro Fine Art
    529 W 20th St., 4th floor
    New York NY
    Summer hours: Tue-Sat 11:00am-5:00pm or by appoin
    Regular hours: Tue-Sat 11:00am-5:00pm or by appointment
    Phone: (212) 647-7030

    In "Unbroken: Photography Subjects Speak Out," the lack of irony is the message. The photographs in this exhibition were taken by young photographers as part of the PhotoVoice project (photovoice.org), which helps young people around the world document their communities.

    The standouts in this show — both in documentary and artistic terms — come from teenage photographers in Vietnam, showing how Ho Chi Minh City street kids eke out a living from an early age. One carries bricks in a construction area, another shines shoes on the street. One, in a striking black and white photo by Vo Cong Thang, seems to be dozing off in a crouch on the ground where he is selling lottery tickets to passers-by.

    Unbroken: Photography Subjects Speak Out  
    In another, a hopeful-looking youngster in a white baseball cap with a black briefcase, comfortably rests the stump of his blown-off leg on a crutch — an incongruous reminder of the toll of the country's wars on its people, although it's not clear how this boy was wounded. Most stunningly beautiful is Vo Cong Thang's "Acting," which shows a perfectly elegant boy of about seven performing on the street, as poised as a ballet dancer with one arm outstretched, his face and arms either scarred with purple blotches or merely crusted with dirt. Most jarringly incongruous is a shot of a young girl in pink and white sleeping on an intentionally bumpy bench (Ho Chi Minh City seems to have followed New York in making its street furniture as inhospitable as possible to discourage homelessness), her arm hanging off one side, her tiny pink sandals positioned at the foot of the bench. Above her head we can make out the bottom of a billboard with a Manchester United logo and David Beckham's smiling face, advertising who knows what. What the British football hero has to tell the Vietnamese street kids, or what they must make of his bizarre presence here, we can only guess.

      Unbroken: Photography Subjects Speak Out
    The exhibition also includes some rather plain photographs from a Colombian home for mentally and physically disabled youths and a more intriguing series of black and white photos from a Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal. One shows an old man in a dramatic swirl of cigarette smoke, sitting on a tiny, drum-shaped stool; nearby, a very young child sits on what may be the same stool, illustrating the camp's cycle of life, the strangeness of permanent living in a "temporary" home. Some of the photos are accompanied by quotes from the photographers or their subjects, including this plainspoken description from one of the Nepalese children of his small sliver of the world:

    " 'Refugee' means people who do not have a home to live in, people who do not have land or property. They just have their empty bodies. Even though I am a refugee, I do not understand the meaning of the word."

    JUNE 28, 2004
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Unbroken: Photography Subjects Speak Out:

  • every thing is same   from binesh k nair, Jul 10, 2006

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