Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Avenue Patrice Lumumba- Guy Tillims

I suppose everyone has seen at least one of the now familiar post Chernobyl crisis photo essays. Abandoned office and apartment buildings, vacant playgrounds and classrooms, and everywhere the eerie presence of loss and decay. And as eerie as those photos are, now imagine the same apocalyptic environment- except with the haphazard presence of its still living occupants.

The cities and streets of Avenue Patrice Lumumba have not been cursed with the invisible poison of radioactivity, but with the dreaded legacy of colonial and post colonial rule and interference. This is what countries, cities and towns look like when they have been stripped of their resources, both natural and human for centuries on end, denied of even the very hope that a Patrice Lumumba died trying to revive and instill.

Guy Tillman's photographs very tellingly depict those ghost lands of heart, mind and soul, where history continues to overwhelm the present and undermine that yet to come. For more on Lumumba (incl the excellent movie), the man who could've prevented today's turmoil in Congo see: here, here, and here.

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