A TRUTHFUL LENS

CALIFORNIA

By Sarah Kricheff

Published May 19, 2006, issue of May 19, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

She is usually associated with abstract photographs that reveal human characteristics in nature, but Israeli artist Michal Ronnen Safdie stepped into a different role behind the lens of her camera when she traveled to Rwanda in October 2002 and to Chad in September 2004. In Rwanda, Safdie documented the Gacaca (pronounced ga-CHA-cha), traditional, citizen-based trials meant to bring criminals to justice and provide truth to survivors and victims of genocide; in Chad, Safdie visited a Bahai refugee camp located on the border of Sudan, where she captured images of refugees who escaped genocide in Darfur.

Rwanda/After, Darfur/Now is a traveling exhibition featuring some 40 color and black-and-white photographs that offer frank portraits of the horrors endured by their subjects. The show opens May 22 at the Skirball Cultural Center.

“I went to Rwanda because I was interested in seeing how they were dealing with the aftermath [of genocide]… but I’m not a photojournalist,” Safdie said in an interview with the Forward. “After Rwanda, I decided I couldn’t sit at home and let something like this happen. At first, we didn’t see many images [of Darfur], and I felt it was important for people to see the images.”

In an effort to create truthful representations of the scenes she witnessed, Safdie, who is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, decided to use color film for many of the photographs. The result is startling and powerful. A deep-blue sky, brilliant sunshine and a sprawling desert provide a backdrop for images of human beings who have lost their entire families, who may never return home again, and whose unimaginable fates seem bleak and hopeless.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a variety of programs, including film screenings, dramatic performances, music and discussions with authors.

Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles; May 22-Oct. 1; Tue.-Sat. 12 p.m.-5 p.m.; Thu. 12 p.m.- 9 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; $8; $6 for seniors; free for members, students and children under 12. (310-440-4500 or www.skirball.org)






Find us on Facebook!
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.