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Sierra Leone

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Original author: 
Vaughn Wallace

On Wednesday, the Open Society Foundations will mark their 20th group exhibition of “Moving Walls” at their new location in midtown Manhattan. Initially conceived 15 years ago as a way to highlight the foundation’s issues and to support documentary photography, the exhibition highlights and adds value to important (and often under-reported) social issues.

Initially, the Foundations’ goals were focused on Eastern Europe and Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But now, the Moving Walls exhibition encompasses work from around the globe. This year, the exhibition features the work of 5 photographers from China, Russia and Ukraine to Sierra Leone and the countries of the Arab Spring.

On Revolution Road,” a project by TIME contract photographer Yuri Kozyrev, features work from the uprisings and unrest in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen. Shot on assignment for TIME, Kozyrev’s work demonstrates both the collective nature of world politics as well as the individual characteristics inherent to each nation’s unique issues. “In the end, the differences between the aftermaths of the region’s revolutions may be more important than their similarities,” he said.

Katharina Hesse‘s project, “Borderland: North Korean Refugees,” tells the individual narratives of North Korean refugees along the Chinese border. Because they’re classified by the Chinese government as ‘economic migrants’, the refugees are ineligible for official UN refugee status. “After experiencing a world like this, it just didn’t feel ‘right’ to take pictures and move on to the next job,” Hesse wrote. She has been shooting the project for nine years.

Juveniles Waiting for Justice” is a project by Fernando Moleres shot in the Pademba Road prison in Freetown, Sierra Leone. There, some 1,300 prisoners languished in squalor, lacking proper hygiene and provisions while awaiting trial. “My Sierra Leone prison photography has been published in the European press,” Moleres said, “but I feel that the story has not exposed a broad audience to this tragedy.”

Ian Teh‘s project, “Traces: Landscapes in Transition on the Yellow River Basin,” explores the existential impact the Yellow River has on the more than 150 million people it directly sustains. “My photographs play with the tension between the Yellow River’s place in Chinese culture and history and China’s emergence as a major economic power,” he said. “By using the landscape, I attempt to show what happens when an area that was largely rural becomes increasingly urban and industrial.”

VII photographer Donald Weber‘s “Interrogations” takes a surreal view on the Russian judicial system. Photographing people inside police interrogation rooms, Weber captures “a place where justice and mercy and hope and despair are manufactured, bought, bartered and sold.” Says Weber: “With each image, I was looking to make a very simple photograph of an actual police interrogation, but also a complex portrait of the relationship between truth and power.”

Moving Walls in on view at the Open Society Foundations at 224 West 57th Street, New York City, from May 8 – December 13, 2013. 

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Self-Taught African Teen Leaves MIT Speechless

Kevin Doe, a young boy from Sierra Leone, baffles his audience as he keeps inventing things by gathering broken electronic parts and putting them together into a new form. 

He has already created batteries for his village, as well as managed to put together his very own FM radio transmitter. The list goes on and on…

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Leading up to the conviction of the former president of Liberia, Charles G. Taylor, Finbarr O'Reilly traveled to Sierra Leone for Reuters to capture a country now at peace, but impoverished.

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NEWSPAPER BOMBED
NEWSPAPER BOMBED: Policemen stood outside the offices of This Day Newspapers in Abuja, Nigeria, Thursday. The paper, one of Nigeria’s leading publications, was rocked by bombs that killed two security men and a suicide bomber and injured five of support staffers. (Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images)

FIGHTING FOR A MEDAL
FIGHTING FOR A MEDAL: France’s Sarah Loko, in blue, fought against France’s Automne Pavia in the women’s 57 kg category bronze match at the European Judo Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia, Thursday. Pavia won. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images)

AT AN END
AT AN END: A victim of violence instigated by Liberian ex-leader Charles Taylor watched his trial Thursday inside the Special Court in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Thursday. Mr. Taylor was convicted of arming an insurgency that committed war crimes in Sierra Leone. (Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)

REMEMBERING
REMEMBERING: Valentina Lopatyuk, 79, cried Thursday at the grave of her son, Viktor Lopatyuk, 29, at the Mitino Cemetery a memorial in Moscow for the victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Russians were marking the 26th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident. (Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press)

FIGHTING THE FLU
FIGHTING THE FLU: Indonesian agriculture officials euthanized chickens suspected of being infected with bird flu in Denpasar, Bali, Thursday. An eight-year-old boy in the region died of a suspected case of bird flu on Tuesday. (Made Nagi/European Pressphoto Agency)

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Danish photographer Kim Thue is the type of person who would commonly be referred to as a badass. He has spent the past few years shooting in Big Wharf, one of the the biggest and most dangerous slums ofFreetown, Sierra Leone, where the locals affectionately call him “The Notorious K.I.M.” The gritty black and white photos he took during his travels in west Africa have now been collected in the ominously dubbed Dead Traffic, a new photo book that is being published by Dienacht

Here’s what Kim had to say about his new book in a recent interview:

“Despite Sierra Leone being renowned for its brutal civil war, I didn’t have a hidden political agenda, a specific humanitarian issue, or even a clear story in mind whilst making the book. I went to Freetown, not as a photojournalist, but as a stranger with a camera and an open heart. What I hope to have created is something the viewer can tune in to emotionally. Something that hits a nerve without being coercive in nature, and without staking a monopoly on a specific kind of truth. A collection of images simply suggesting that the inextricable coexistence of beauty and dread is an ever present theme within this vigorous and inclement city.”

Kim Thue will celebrate Dead Traffic with an opening at the Freelens Gallery in Hamburg this Thursday, which will be followed by a six-week exhibition in the gallery. You can pre-order the book here, watch a video here,read an interview here, and follow Kim’s work at Prospekt Agency.

 More Pictures

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