The Fund for Global Human Rights is a charity working with activists across Africa, Latin America, South Asia and Southeast Asia – four regions of the world that it is spotlighting in Face to Face, a new public exhibition in King’s Cross Tunnel and the surrounding Outside Art Project space, which launched earlier this year.
The free exhibition has been curated by writer, broadcaster and former ICA director Ekow Eshun, who recently authored Africa State of Mind, a book examining new photographic work from across the continent.
The eight photographers featured in Face to Face have produced work related to the four regions where the fund has a presence. They were selected not just for the way their work resonates visually, but also because of their practice, working closely with local communities in a way that “mirrors the values and approach of the fund”.
George Osodi was chosen for his series Oil Rich Niger Delta, which he worked on for four years alongside the local people. Elsewhere, in the making of his Ovahimba Youth Self-Portraits series, Kyle Weeks gave the Himba people in northern Namibia control of the shutter release as a way of partially redressing the subject-photographer relationship.
Medina Dugger’s series is inspired by Muslim women in Lagos, Nigeria, and reframes the hijab as a form of self-expression, rather than oppression. Also set in Lagos is Sabelo Mlangeni’s series The House of Allure, which saw the photographer spend two months embedding himself in the eponymous Nigerian queer safe house. Face to Face also features the work of photographers Alejandro Cartegena, Margaret Courtney-Clarke, Mahtab Hussain and Dhruv Malhotra.
Eshun wanted the show “to highlight social documentary photography that functions as a form of engagement, dispensing with the ostensible objectivity of reportage photography and focusing instead on the subjective validity of lived experience,” he says. “In the process, the exhibition conjures compelling images that, as the philosopher Gilles Deleuze put it, create ‘impressions which force us to look, encounters which force us to interpret, expressions which force us to think’.”
Face to Face is on display around King’s Cross, London from October 7 – November 1; facetoface.photos