I spent this afternoon in town with a friend, enjoying the sort of beautiful winter’s day which makes living in or near London not so much bearable as a pleasure. As well as checking out the excellent Bob Dylan exhibition at Proud Central we took a wander along the South Bank where we stumbled across a rather wonderful installation from Oxfam.
Essentially it’s a series of tall plastic columns, each of which features portraits of victims of the horror in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (I always think that any country that feels the need to include the word democratic in its name probably has as much resemblance to a democracy as I do to Brad Pitt). The portraits were all taken by Rankin, the photographer who is more known for his celebrity photos than shots of refugees. His portraits are absolutely beautiful and the installation is another reason to spend some time on the South Bank if you’re anywhere near.
There are also films of the shoot which can also be found on the Oxfam site (where you can also donate, something I would strongly encourage you to do). however annoyingly these videos don’t include embed code and, despite Oxfam having a YouTube channel, the DRC videos aren’t on there. I would have loved to include the video here as they really arelovely and do a very good job of showing that these victims are also real people, who laugh, cry, joke & play, something Rankin has said he wanted the exhibition to do.
Still, the fact that you can’t embed the videos is a ridiculously tiny gripe: at the end of the day the photos & films are all in a very good cause, and if you’d like to get something for your money other than just a sense of enormous well being* you can bid for limited edition prints of some of the photos.
*An imaginary prize for the person who spots the musical reference in this line.