SIDE BY SIDE, FROM HEAVEN TO EARTH: RWANDA AND IDJWI ISLAND, DRC

GAËL R. VANDE WEGHE, PHILIPPE NYIRIMIHIGO and SASKIA KEELEY

2 October to 1 November 2018

Vernissage: 2 October 2018, 17:00-20:00, in the presence of the artists

Exhibition: 2 October to 1 November 2018, Monday to Friday, 9:00-18:00 (closed from 22 to 28 October 2018)

 

Rwanda has had a dramatic, rich and complex history over the last 50 years. Many know the genocide but much less what followed this dark period. Yet the country has undergone significant changes: population increase, agricultural and reforestation policies, new environmental reforms and significant urbanisation. 
 
This is Rwanda
Rwandan photographers Gaël R. Vande Weghe and Philippe Nyirimihigo began flying over Rwanda in 2012. This allowed them to become acutely aware of the great diversity of their country, ranging from lakes and forests in the west to the eastern plains, as well as the many urban areas – a diversity they immortalised with the project This is Rwanda
 
This is Rwanda is an exhibition of 20 monochrome images. Taken during flyovers for the making of the book This is Rwanda, they will present two approaches: vast landscapes showing some of the features of Rwanda’s topography, and closer shots, highlighting typical details of the life and environment of the Land of a thousand hills. The diversity of landscapes, forms and lines is brought to light, as well as an overview of the profound transformations currently underway in the country. Taken over several years, these images represent but one part of the work accomplished. The latter will be the subject of other exhibitions and publications. 
 
Idjwi's Children
Idjwi Island in Lake Kivu is a remote and neglected island in one of the most turbulent regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Home to an estimated 250,000 people, it has garnered a reputation as a safe-haven for refugees fleeing conflicts like the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and the DRC M23 rebellion of 2013.
 
While isolation has helped maintain the peace, the population suffers because the existing health system is inadequate and there is only the most minimal civil infrastructure. 
 
Originally charged by the END Fund, a philanthropic initiative for neglected tropical diseases, with documenting Idjwi's community health workers’ training programme, photographer Saskia Keeley was able to follow them in their work. A later visit to Idjwi Island alongside NGO Amani Global Works enabled her to document further the daily lives of Idjwi’s inhabitants. 
 
Her selection of portraits brings to light “Idjwi’s Children,” a group of people from the less visible parts of the globe in all their humanity and dignity.