WASHINGTON (May 15, 2007)–Powerful images depicting life in a Ugandan refugee camp — taken by war refugees ages 12-20 — will be on display at the National Geographic Museum at Explorers Hall from Thursday, May 17, to Monday, Sept 3. The exhibit, “Photo Camp 2006: Uganda,” coincides with World Refugee Day on June 20 and aims to educate the public about the plight of African refugees and to demonstrate to refugees that the world community has not forgotten them.
The 60 photographs on display were selected from thousands taken during a Photo Camp held for young refugees at a camp in western Uganda in November 2006. The Photo Camp was a collaboration between National Geographic and International Medical Corps (IMC), a global humanitarian nonprofit organization.
Mentored by renowned National Geographic photographers Reza Deghati, Ed Kashi and Chris Rainier and South African photographer Neo Ntsoma, the students were taught photographic techniques and guided through the process of telling a story through images. They attended a series of workshops where they were assigned the topics “Surroundings,” “My Life in the Camp” and “Self-portraits.” The workshops allowed the young people to express their feelings of displacement and their interpretation of home through photography. IMC staff then used the photographs in counseling the students on coping with the turbulence of refugee life.
In viewing their lives through the camera’s lens, the participants not only produced striking photographs, but the process allowed them to unlock painful images and experiences from the past. Relief agencies like IMC have realized that art therapy is an effective tool in helping with long-term recovery for traumatized populations, especially children.
An identical exhibit, titled “Through the Eyes of Children: Life as a Refugee in Uganda,” will be displayed at Oxo Tower Wharf in London from June 14 to July 1. The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, also will display the photographs at the National Museum of Uganda in Kampala to commemorate World Refugee Day.
Visit www.nationalgeographic.com/photocamp to learn more about National Geographic Photo Camps.
The National Geographic Museum at Explorers Hall, 1145 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., is open Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Dec. 25. Admission is free. For information on the “Photo Camp 2006: Uganda” exhibit, the public should call (202) 857-7588 or visit www.nationalgeographic.com/museum.