By Fatoumatta K Jallow
The British High Commission on 21st May, 2019 held the viewing of the ‘portrait for positive change’, an exhibition which seeks to create awareness and increase knowledge about the Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) while creating a platform for the public discourse around issues of human rights abuses.
With the theme of “Never Again”, the exhibition‘s objective is to promote dialogue and positive change by bringing the human face and personal testimonies of victims into the greater public arena.
The portraits and testimonies will become part of the national archive held by the National Center for future generation of Gambians.
Jason Florio producer of the Human rights victim’s portraits and a native of London said this project came about when he met some victims in Dakar in 2016.
He disclosed that after change of Regime they started documenting these stories of victims which took them three years and they will probably continue for another year because the idea is to create a large body of images and testimonies.
He said the portraits and testimonies will be used to create a mobile exhibition to be presented around The Gambia, which he said will be done through outreach programmes as part of the national reconciliation process to open hearts and minds by sharing the personal stories of those victimized by the former regime.
“This is important to me as a photographer because it is my mission to bring these stories to the forefront,” he noted.
Jason added that he didn’t face any challenges while working on this project because the victims were welcoming to tell their stories.
The portrait is said to be an environmental portrait and the idea is to bring people face to face with the victims to offer a human side of who these people are.
Sainey MK Marenah, a Journalist who was also a victim of Jammeh’s Regime shared his testimony, saying he was arrested and detained in 2014 after he wrote a story about young supporters of President Jammeh who were reported to have defected to the opposition. He was later acquitted after a ten-month trial and went into hiding in Senegal after receiving anonymous death threats.
Sainey MK Marenah, told journalists that today is really different from before and is a very happy moment for him as he looks forward to the new democratic dispensation.