A photographic exhibition exploring the strength and special sense of community of Ugunja, a small township in Kenya, Africa, will be officially opened at Cairns Regional Gallery. Ugunja, Kenya: Picturing Community is an intimate exhibition of portrait photographs taken by Melbourne photographer Bronek Kozka and exhibited alongside quotes from the subjects themselves as recorded by Cairns resident, Michael Martin.
Picturing Community is a work of love for Martin who first travelled to Ugunja in 1998, when he was volunteering with the Kenyan Institute of Organic Farming. Whilst there Martin met and worked with the Ugunja Community Resource Centre (UCRC), where he was so impressed with the passion and commitment of the organisation’s local volunteers, he stayed for 10 months.
Returning to Australia in 1999 Martin established Osiepe – Friends of the Ugunja Community Resource Centre to assist with fundraising for the UCRC.
In March 2001, Martin returned to Ugunja with photographer and childhood friend Bronek Kozka, who took this unique collection of photographs in conjunction with his Bachelor of Photography Degree, which he was studying through RMIT.
The photographs in Ugunja, Kenya: Picturing Community are a testament to the love, compassion, strength and special sense of community that Michael Martin discovered in the African people. He hopes that the photographs and the quotes beside them will give visitors to the exhibition an insight into the African sense of ‘community’.
My hope is that people will come away [from the exhibition] with a view of Africa that recognises the difficulties and challenges people face … but also recognising the skills and strength that the African people have in solving their own problems, Martin said.
Ugunja, Kenya: Picturing Community will be officially opened by the Co-ordinator of the Ugunja Community Resource Centre, Pius Aggrey Omondi, this Friday, 19th April, at 6.30pm. The choral group, Woyaya, will provide entertainment. ALL ARE WELCOME.
All of the photographs featured in Picturing Community are for sale through the Gallery Shop; there are also two limited edition posters available through the Shop. All monies raised through the sale of photographs and printed material will go towards the ongoing works of the Ugunja Community Resource Centre.
Ugunja, Kenya: Picturing Community will be on show in Cairns Regional Gallery's second floor Loft Gallery until 26th May.