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An Exhibition - Personal Politics

A selection of images from my Exhibition 'Personal Politics' which covered my overseas work between 1999 - 2005. Commissioned by the Sidney Cooper Gallery in Canterbury it ran from 7th April - 6th May 2006. Please click on images to enlarge

Sudanese refugees enter Bredjing camp, Chad

Sudanese refugees enter Bredjing camp, Chad

Conflict in Sudan erupted early in 2003 when the rebel Sudanese Liberation Movement and the smaller Justice and Equality Movement took up arms against the Sudanese government in Khartoum to end the neglect and oppression of the inhabitants of Darfur,in western Sudan.
The Sudanese government responded by backing Arab militias - the Janjaweed, who attacked villages forcing more than 1.6 million to flee. 200,00 fled across Sudan’s western border with Chad, creating sprawling refugee camps and placing further strain on an already desperately poor country.
Sudanese girl at Bredjing

Sudanese girl at Bredjing

Fleeing from Janjaweed militia in Sudan, many families escaped across the border to Chad. They carried with them everything they could grab when soliders drove them from their villages.
Bredjing camp was opened in May 2004 and it was thought that it would hold 12,000 people.Within weeks it became a shelter for 30,000. By the end of September it housed almost 43,000 placing increasing strain on the already hard pressed relief agencies.
In March 2006 it was reported that the Janjaweed have extended their reach across the Sudanese border into Chad - raiding villages near the border and looting livestock. The UN Refugee Agency report that 30-40,00 Chadians have been displaced.
Coffee Beans, Uganda

Coffee Beans, Uganda

The annual world trade in Coffee is worth £7 billion. After crude oil coffee is the world's most valuable commodity. In the UK alone retail sales of Coffee are worth £800 million.
Rosa with her 3 year old son, Tito. Nuevo Milagro, Peru.

Rosa with her 3 year old son, Tito. Nuevo Milagro, Peru.

Rosa sells her coffee to local buyers and is subject to the continually fluctuating prices of the international market.
“We’re not sure it’s worth growing coffee anymore when it doesn’t cover the cost of our daily lives,” says Rosa. “Sometimes we wonder why we don’t give up and grow coca instead.
“Our Lifestyle is determined by the changing price of coffee. We have no security. Whatever price the buyer says is the price we have to accept. We don’t have the power to negotiate. That’s the way it is for us farmers.”
Faustinio and José Castillo. Fairtrade bananas, Peru 2004

Faustinio and José Castillo. Fairtrade bananas, Peru 2004

Around 76,000 tonnes of bananas are shipped to the UK every year. It's our most popular fruit having overtaken the apple in 1998. For supermarkets, bananas are the highest value grocery item - only lottery tickets and petrol generate more sales. Competition to sell the cheapest bananas is high and the low cost is passed down the supply chain. Supermarkets pressure their suppliers and suppliers pressurise the growers.
Faustinio and José are fortunate - they work with a Fairtrade export company, Biorganica who pay a fair price and pay them regularly and on time.
Failing Textile factory Jinja, Uganda

Failing Textile factory Jinja, Uganda

Uganda is just one country on the receiving end of clothes placed in clothing banks in the west which are sold on to importers who in turn sell them to small businesses in developing countries.
The consequence of this ‘benevolence’ is the collapse of the domestic textile industry which is unable to compete with cheap importes. It threatens to wipe out traditional designs and clothing styles.
The market stalls of Kampala are filled with brands such as M&S, Next and Topshop but finding African textiles is virtually impossible. Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi acknowledges the dilemma. “On one hand second hand clothes are cheap - and on the other they undermine the textile industry. The government policy is to phase them out.”
Noah’s Ark workshop, Moradabad, India

Noah’s Ark workshop, Moradabad, India

Since the 1960’s charities and NGO’s have worked with artisans and small scale farmers in the third world to open our markets to their skill and craftsmanship. Along the way, working hours and conditions for thousands of workers have greatly improved.
It was common in Moradabad for artisans’ pay to be no more than the waste left after they’d finished their consignment. Noah’s Ark (left) pays a fair rate for all items purchased. Because of this approach the producers have more control and are able to improve their living standards, feed their families and educate their children. Noah’s Ark works with 30 artisan groups, which support around 500 workers and their dependents.
Tsunami - Boxing Day 2004

Tsunami - Boxing Day 2004

On Boxing Day 2004, a massive earthquake deep in the Indian Ocean triggered tidal waves which reached speeds of 500mph and a height of 20 metres when they hit Indonesia. 300,000 people in 12 countries were killed.
January 2005 - Just days after the tsunami, 62 year-old Apeelamma (left with her granddaughters Sareepa, 8 and Nilupa, 9) was too shocked even to cook. "I do not have much hope for the future, she said, “other than making up my mind to look after my grandchildren who have lost their mother.I must do that.”
Fishermen return to the Sea,  Vichukalai

Fishermen return to the Sea, Vichukalai

In Sri Lanka 38,000 died and half-a-million were made homeless. Rebuilding work has begun since the government started allocating land for permanent housing in June 2005, but the need for reconstruction is still pressing with many thousands still living in temporary shelters. Restoring livelihoods is another priority: more than 400,000 Sri Lankans lost their jobs in the tsunami, mostly in the fishing industry.
'Green Famine' Woilatta district Ethiopia

'Green Famine' Woilatta district Ethiopia

In 2004 Ethiopia again teetered on the brink of starvation. Beyene (front) and Tadelech Kutisha show signs of malnutrition. Wolaitta district.
Green fields hide a growing crisis. Within metres of maize plants that won’t produce food for another three months people go hungry. Most of the 28 million Ethiopians who live in long-term poverty rely on ancient farming techniques, which are completely dependent on erratic rains.
Zeuluth aged 50, Butege village, Uganda

Zeuluth aged 50, Butege village, Uganda

“Most of my relatives are dead,” says Zeuluth “Most of them died through HIV. My husband too. When my relatives knew, they did nothing to help, nothing at all. I don’t know why they behaved that way. They thought I meant to catch HIV.” Zeuluth's daughter Betty 23, and grandadughter baby Ngobi aged 1, also have AIDS
Stigma is one of the main obstacles facing people with AIDS in Uganda with much of it coming from the churches. The Aids Intervention Programme, formed by Pastor Sam Mugote counters this by enabling churches in Jinja to develop sustainable support to those living with HIV/AIDS.
“The church is so good,” says Zeuluth as she kneels down to mime praying, “They encourage us and we receive regular visits and sometimes some money too. We feel sorry because we know they have their own homes to take care of.”
Hammock - Cambodia

Hammock - Cambodia

A young boy sleeps in Trawpieng Kes vilage, Cambodia