In August 2006 I travelled to Angola, southern Africa, with the
international development agency Christian Aid to visit post conflict
projects funded by the charity and see for myself the issues faced by
millions of young people living in this war torn country. I spent time in the
capital Luanda, and a remote region in the south west called Mavinga,
during which time we were living in a satin lined mud hut, welcomed and
hospitably looked after by people with very little means at their disposal,
whose lives had been ravaged by years of war.
In the work I have produced I have attempted to evoke the huge tasks
of reconstruction and reconciliation in the face of enormous odds, but at
the same time allude to the indomitable optimism of the human spirit I
encountered in the new generation of post-war Angolans which, in difficult
moments, I felt was almost the only resource available to them. This was
my first visit to sub Saharan Africa, and sadly my preconceptions regarding
the desperate state of ordinary people in a country that is enjoying the
fruits of huge oil revenues were substantiated. Almost half of Angola’s
population is under the age of 15 and life expectancy is only 41 years.
It has the third highest child mortality rate in the world with one in four
children dying before their fifth birthday. This year Angola celebrates five
years of peace but the road to full recovery will take much longer, it will
need international assistance for many years to come.
|Related Exhibitions:||Wolverhampton Art Gallery 2007-8 and touring, Angola, Flowers Central, 21 Cork Street, London W1, 5 March – 29 March 2008, Children in Conflict, Drumcroon Art gallery, Wigan, April 14th 2008 - June 20th 2008|