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1100seawright_room

Growing up in 1970s Belfast, artist Paul Seawright saw his fair share of violence. But nothing prepared him for the trip he took to Afghanistan in 2002. Seawright, a photographer whose early work focused around The Troubles in Northern Ireland, was commissioned by London’s Imperial War Museum (IWM) to go to the war torn nation and capture life post-Taliban. After taking a week long war training course, Seawright travelled around Afghanistan with the landmine organization Halo Trust and his images, from the series he called “Hidden”, are stark and powerful. “Horizon 2002” at first glance appears blurry and cracked like a lunar landscape. But looking beyond the foreground, there are ominous round black objects littered everywhere. They are, of course, mines scattered across the desolate landscape. “I wanted to look at the impact of conflict, how the nature of conflict has changed,” says Seawright, currently a professor of photography at the University of Ulster in Belfast. “It was a very strange war because there was no bin Laden, no Taliban—it was all invisible and hidden.” Seawright argues that his work was different from the photojournalism coming out of the region at that time. “A photograph on the cover of a newspaper ends up in the recycling bin whereas art has to bear repeated scrutiny, it has to have enough complexity and layers to invite the viewer to come back and look again.” Read more

sarajevo

When Aida, my Bosnian translator, and I climb into the back of the patrol car, officers Emir Lakota and Radaslic Sabahudin say that because it’s Ramadan and also a Monday, things will hopefully be quiet. As we speed off in their Volkswagen, swinging passed parks, dimly lit alleys and through the hopping bar district, they tell disheartening tale after tale of how the security and judicial systems in Bosnia have broken down 14 years after the war ended here.Though crime statistics in the Bosnian capital appear down this year,  these two Sarajevan cops—who have both been on the force for over 15 years—say they are frustrated more than ever. Read more