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Photographing Loss: Drawing on Argentinian Photography in Rwanda

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
JournalWasafiri
Volume35
Issue number4
Early online date14 Nov 2020
DOIs
Accepted/In press1 Jul 2020
E-pub ahead of print14 Nov 2020
Published2020

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Abstract

This essay describes and reflects on an encounter between Argentinian photographer Lucila Quieto and four Rwandan photographers who grew up in the Imbabazi orphanage on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. All five photographers lost their parents as children through political violence. And all are dedicated to using the storytelling potential of the camera to advocate for social justice in Argentina and Rwanda. However the artistic landscape in the two countries is radically different. Whilst Argentina has a rich history of photographic explorations of loss, absence and injustice, in Rwanda photographers are still looking for new visual languages to articulate their experiences of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. The photographers’ virtual meeting and sharing of materials resulted in the generation of new work that was inspired by but does not derive from Quieto’s influential photo-essay Arqueología de la ausencia. This essay draws on interviews with Quieto and the Rwandan photographers, provides examples of the work, considers the aesthetic strategies adopted, and discusses their significance in the Rwandan context.

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