Making Contact

May 2, 2010

A shot of the Allen Lambet Galleria

I went to Brookfield Place yesterday before work to check out the Doyon-Rivest exhibit, Le siècle des lumières, in the Allen Lambert Galleria as part of the Contact Festival of Photography. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it. Maybe it had to do with the way the light hits the 18 metre high window at the Galleria’s entrance (at least I think that’s where it is) but with my unrealistic time restrictions (50 minutes until my work shift started with about an hour and ten minutes worth of stuff to do) I decided to leave it for another day.

Congo on the Wire

I did manage to scoot over to the Barbara Frum Atrium, at the CBC Building, on my lunch break to check out Finbarr O’Reilly’s heartbreaking, tear-inducing, beautifully shot  installation, Congo on the Wire. Here is an excerpt of the description one reads as they enter the mini maze of photographs arranged in the centre of the atrium:

Finbarr O’Reilly spent two years in the Congo and neighbouring Rwanda from 2002 to 2004, covering the region as a writer for Reuters. In October 2008, a fresh upsurge of violence brought him back to the Congo, this time as a photographer.

O’Reilly wanted to explore not only the country’s experience of loss and misery, but also the strength and perseverance of the Congolese people.

He does an amazing job. If I had the makeshift gallery walls to myself I would have surely been standing in a puddle of my own tears. It is difficult to be left unaffected by the images and it is in my opinion that we should be affected. I couldn’t help thinking, as my eyes swept over the photographs, of the many ways in a day I whine or complain about petty inconveniences, looking at clips of the Congolese people living their lives while being deeply affect by war.  It’s all relative we say. I know… I know… But every once in a while we need a good slap in the face to pull us outside of ourselves and into the lives of others. I’m not an incredibly political person and admit to a certain amount of ignorance in matters concerning current affairs. Maybe there is an explanation to this madness I can’t see. I know about corruption and greed and one-side-against-the-other but to devalue a life (Lives. Millions have died) to such a degree… It’s happens in different ways, in too many places.  We need to regain our dignity. Globally. This earth we are all wandering, whatever side you’re on, we are all on it together. We are all in it together. We are. We. Just. Are.

To gain a better understanding of the situation than I can give, check out this six minute media clip narrated by O’Reilly, here. And remember, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by it all wondering how to lend a hand, consider making a donation to organizations such as Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders Canada or The Red Cross among others. Every penny can make a difference. And so can those healing, loving vibes.

If you’re in the area I hope you go see O’Reilly’s exhibit. If not, you can check him out, here.

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