Photographer-activist Dick Bancroft said his latest exhibit attempts to put a face on a tragedy that the media describes using numbers and clichs.
"Colombianos" features people who "are screaming for peace with justice."
The Minnesota artist, who will be at Central Lakes College in Brainerd Feb. 6, dedicated his new display to a friend assassinated by Colombian guerrillas at age 41.
Ingrid Washinawatok El-Issa, a Native American U.S. citizen, had been kidnapped along with companions Terence Freitas and Lahe'na'e Gay while working to improve schools of the U'wa indigenous people.
The exhibit will be in the CLC Gallery from Feb. 6 to March 7, said Jan Kurtz, coordinator for the organization sponsoring Bancroft's return to Brainerd. The Resource Center for Cultures and Languages of the Americas hosted Bancroft in September 2001.
The sign behind the Colombian man in this Dick Bancroft photograph says, "Protesting for our rights to integrity and life," referring to indigenous people's plight in the face of land consumed by political and corporate powers.
He will speak at noon Feb. 6 in the Lecture Hall, showing slides of his travels to Central and South America, where he documents the lives of people in their daily surroundings.
"I just returned from my 12th visit to Colombia in seven years," Bancroft said. "I checked out cut flower farms. Colombia is the second largest cut flower exporter in the world."
His new exhibit is not about flowers; it's about "flower children." He focuses on social circumstances, which lead to political, peace and justice issues.
"The U.S. response to the tragedy -- sending more military hardware and chemical herbicides -- intensifies the violence and adds to the suffering of these beautiful people," Bancroft said. "In the United States, it's easy for us to write off the suffering by declaring war on drugs and now, on terrorism."
The captions for some of his "Colombianos" images punctuate the visual impact:
If you go
Who: Dick BancroftWhat: "Colombianos" photo exhibit
Where: Central Lakes College Gallery
When: Feb. 6-March 7; he will speak noon-1 p.m. Feb. 6, Lecture Hall, CLC
"Part of the Problem. General Mora, head of the Colombian army."
"Mariela Vargas, a domestic worker who earns $180 a month and lives in one room with her family of five in Southern Bogota."
"One of the two million internally displaced as a result of armed conflict."
"Displaced children at the Red Cross building."
"Dick is a self-taught photographer," said Kurtz. "He began his observations while growing up in Africa with his missionary father. Dick can tell you how he got the close-up of the military man, what the little child's house was like, or the story of the Huaorani Indians of the Amazon and how the oil company changed their lives."
She said Bancroft is an activist throughout the Americas on behalf of indigenous rights. He has worked with Winona LaDuke and Rigoberta Menchu, among others.
"And yes, he is related to polar explorer Ann Bancroft. He is her dad," said Kurtz, referring to the first woman to ski to the North Pole in the Will Steger- Paul Schurke Expedition of 1985.
"When viewing his exhibit, look deeper than the flat surface of the photo paper," she said. "Look into the eyes, beyond the face. Meet the artist and ask the story."
An informal tea reception will follow the one-hour program Feb. 6 at the CLC Gallery, which is open to the public at no charge during regular school hours.
For information, call Kurtz at 855-8183 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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