Jehad Nga's exhibition entitled
opens at Bonni Benrubi Gallery tomorrow. I really hope you can make it because this is a truly stunning show. I spent all of today hanging these pictures and I am so moved by every single one.
The people of the Turkana tribe have been tragically affected by a devastating drought. In the midst of such sadness and struggle, Nga manages to represent them in a beautiful and dignified manner. Nga achieved this by building a dark "hut" of sorts, he invited his subjects to come inside where they were lit with a singe beam of light. By doing this he removes them from their surroundings and invites us to see each person in the simplest of forms, just a striking chiaroscuro. What's so interesting is that the images are so dramatic yet they are so quiet and hold a lot of emotion and detail within them. One last thing that I found interesting is that due to their dark nature, the final product is physically extremely reflective which ultimately allows you to see yourself reflected next to the subject.
Here's an official press release:
Opening for Jehad Nga's "Turkana" at Bonni Benrubi Gallery
Please join us for an Opening Reception on Thursday, May 13, 2010 6-8PM
Exhibition dates: May 13 – July 17, 2010
Opening reception: Thursday, May 13, 2010 6-8 PM
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10-6 PM
Bonni Benrubi Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new work by Jehad Nga entitled Turkana. Sublime and tragic portraits of the Turkana tribe in Kenya are presented here in striking chiaroscuro. Forgotten by a government that hardly felt their own, Kenya’s Turkana tribe is withering in numbers as a drought devastates the Horn of Africa. In a region where little to no aid has reached many of the affected areas, Nga documents in the clearest light possible the people and faces at risk of disappearing as a result of the disaster. Nga removes his subjects completely from their environment by photographing them in a freestanding hut built for this purpose; in doing so, he refuses to allow the harsh terrain of the region to become the defining element of his work, but rather forces the viewer to confront the human subject in front of the lens.
All images copyright Jehad Nga/Courtesy Bonni Benrubi Gallery, NYC