Response to Injustice
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(CHARLOTTE, NC May 2012) – Visitors to the Guinan Gallery at The Art Institute of Charlotte will get a rare glimpse into the lives of the Kachin refugees in Burma thanks to the photography exhibit Response to Injustice, May 17 through June30, 2012. The exhibit is the result of Silent Images founder David Johnson’s recent trip into Burma, where he documented the more than 75,000 Kachin refugees who are caught in the crossfire of the world’s longest ongoing revolution. Response to Injustice marks the first time these photographs will be on display for the public.
“In a sentence, we hope our photography can both comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Instead of taking photos of broad injustice, our goal is to gather names and stories in order to personalize the injustice,” Johnson said.
Johnson, who founded Silent Images to give a voice to those around the world who suffer from persecution, poverty or oppression, traveled to China in April 2012 to document the Kachin people. Arriving in China, Johnson found that the refugees were across the border in Burma (now commonly referred to as Myanmar). Crossing the border at night, Johnson had just two days to document what he saw and interview generals and top commanders in the Kechin Independence Army (KIA). Very few American journalists have gained access to the camps, and there was active fighting just 10 miles from where Johnson was stationed.
“At Silent Images we understand that there is a fine line between telling a story and stealing dignity. When we pick up our cameras, we have to always ask ourselves, ‘Why am I taking this photo?’ Our purpose in taking photos is to highlight the beauty and resilience of those who persevere through injustice and to use these photos to inspire others to take action,” said Johnson.
This exhibit also shows aspiring photographers at The Art Institute of Charlotte that photography can be a vehicle for social change. Johnson offers this advice to students "As you gain knowledge and skill in photography, recognize you hold in your hands one of the most powerful tools ever known to man,” he said. When working in places like Darfur or Burma, Johnson understands that the government doesn’t want him there; because he says he wields a weapon more powerful than a gun. “Bullets can only shoot so far, but an image is boundless and inspires people to action,” he said.
View a video highlighting Johnson’s experience with the Kachin people by clicking here.
Response to Injustice: A photographic narrative on the oppression and survival of the Kachin people in Burma
May 17 through June 30, 2012
The Guinan Gallery at The Art Institute of Charlotte
Three LakePointe Plaza
2110 Water Ridge Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28217
Monday through Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday 10am to 3pm
The Art Institute of Charlotte is part of The Art Institutes (www.artinstitutes.edu), a system of over 50 schools throughout North America. The Art Institutes schools provide an important source of education for design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals. Several institutions included in The Art Institutes system are campuses of South University or Argosy University. See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.