WARNING: Please be aware, this exhibition contains photographs that may be disturbing to viewers due to the graphic or violent nature of the subject matter. Viewer discretion and parental guidance are advised.
Using the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a point of departure, HUMAN RIGHTS HUMAN WRONGS examines whether images of political struggle, suffering and victims of violence work for or against humanitarian objectives, especially when considering questions of race, representation, ethical responsibility and the cultural position of the photographer.
Featuring more than 300 original prints from the prestigious Black Star Collection, HUMAN RIGHTS HUMAN WRONGS begins circa 1945 and includes photographs of well-known Civil Rights Movement events such as the Selma to Montgomery March and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The exhibition also features images of the independence movements in many African countries, a selection of portraits of Nobel Peace Prize winners, and photographs, magazines and books which document protests, war and conflict from the Vietnam War to the Rwandan Genocide in 1994.
The exhibition functions as a catalytic enquiry into photojournalistic practice, addressing the legacy of how photographs have historically functioned in raising awareness of international conflict. It critically considers the cultural meaning these photographs produce, how inhumane acts are rendered photographically for us to look at, and the visual legacy they leave behind. We see the wide dissemination of photographic images of humankind in abject, euphoric or violently explicit conditions. How do these images assist us in understanding the case for civil and human rights?
Guest Curator Mark Sealy has a special interest in photography and its relationship to social change, identity politics and human rights.
Since 1991 as director of Autograph ABP he has initiated the production of many publications, exhibitions and residency projects and commissioned photographers and filmmakers worldwide. In 2002, he jointly initiated and developed a £7.96 million capital building project (Rivington Place), which opened in 2007 and developed in partnership with the Institute of International Visual Arts.
He has written for several international photography publications, including Foam Magazine (Amsterdam), Aperture (New York) and Next Level (London). Published in 2002, Sealy’s book project published by Phaidon Press Limited entitled Different, focuses on photography and identity and is produced in partnership with Professor Stuart Hall.
His most recent curated projects include the commissioning of The Unfinished Conversation a film-work by John Akomfrah on the political life of Professor Stuart Hall first staged at the Bluecoat Gallery as part of the Liverpool Biennial 2012. Roma-Sinti-Kale-Manush, a group show that examined the representation of Roma Communities across Europe was on display at Rivington Place (London) from May 25 to July 28, 2012.
He has severed as a jury member for several prestigious photography awards including the World Press Photo Competition. He has also guest lectured extensively throughout the UK and abroad including The Royal College of Art and has recently devised MA studies programs for Sotheby’s Institute of Art on global photography.
Sealy is currently a PhD candidate at Durham Centre for Advanced Photographic Studies at Durham University, England. His research and curatorial practice focuses on photography and cultural violence.
Presented by TD Bank Group.