University of Calgary

Stirring images of women surviving war featured in photo exhibit opening Thursday

UToday HomeSeptember 4, 2013

Mariatu Kamara, a survivor of the civil war in Sierra Leone, applies makeup in Toronto, 2011. Photo by Nick Danziger, International Committee of the Red CrossMariatu Kamara, a survivor of the civil war in Sierra Leone, applies makeup in Toronto, 2011. Photo by Nick Danziger, International Committee of the Red CrossCivil war raged in Sierra Leone when 12-year-old Mariatu Kamara was caught in a rebel attack that left her with no hands. Kamara’s story of survival is part of Eleven Women Facing War, a gripping new photography exhibit opening Thursday depicting the lives of 11 women and girls trapped in the world’s most dangerous conflict zones. And Kamara will speak on campus Wednesday about her experiences at a free public lecture and reception.

Thanks to private support, the University of Calgary is able to offer enhanced programs such as this photography exhibit at The Founders’ Gallery, which is located in The Military Museums. Eleven Women Facing War will run until Dec. 2.

This thought-provoking exhibit is part of the University of Calgary’s ongoing efforts to share personal experiences of war with Calgarians.

“It is of vital importance to show the entire story of war; to hear and see the anguish from these countries’ unheard civilians – the children and the women,” says University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon.

“This exhibition shares the personal experience of those whose lives have been and continue to be affected by the violent conflict of war. The photographs capture actual human history and the devastation of war on families.”

Eleven Women Facing War tells 11 stories of women and girls who survived the violence of war-plagued regions of Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Colombia, the Balkans, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Internationally renowned photographer Nick Danziger initially photographed these women for an International Committee of the Red Cross study in 2001. Ten years later, he set out to find each one to learn what became of their lives.

The photo exhibition, Eleven Women Facing War, at the Founders’ Gallery in The Military Museums features striking images taken by Nick Danziger for the International Committee of the Red Cross. Photo by Dave BrownThe photo exhibition, Eleven Women Facing War, at the Founders’ Gallery in The Military Museums features striking images taken by Nick Danziger for the International Committee of the Red Cross. Photo by Dave BrownOne of the women in Danziger’s portraits is Kamara, a child victim of the civil war in Sierra Leone. Now living in Toronto, Kamara is UNICEF Canada’s Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict. She will attend a special University of Calgary exhibit reception on Thursday evening to share her experiences and her remarkable life.

Strong support of the University of Calgary’s cultural initiatives at The Founders’ Gallery, and beyond, makes exhibits such as Eleven Women Facing War possible, says Tom Hickerson, vice-provost, of the University of Calgary’s Libraries and Cultural Resources.

“With generous private support to enhance programs at The Military Museums, the University of Calgary is able to present exhibitions which contribute to our ongoing efforts to preserve national and international military history,” says Hickerson. “It has given the University of Calgary the opportunity to bring vital educational exhibitions and archives to Calgary, where they will be accessible to students, researchers and artists.”

Kamara’s free lecture and reception (no RSVP required) takes place Wednesday, Sept. 4, at 4:30 p.m., at the Taylor Family Digital Library, Gallery Hall, on the University of Calgary main campus.

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