© Marcus Bleasdale. Above: An early morning religious service in the Gety displaced camp, just days before the historic 2006 elections.
Marcus Bleasdale’s first exhibition at the Anastasia Photo gallery, featuring over ten years of documentation on conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is on view until October 21, 2011. His work there has highlighted the causes and devastating effects of the war. Reserves of diamonds and gold that could enrich a nation are a curse in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a war over those resources has inflicted a large death toll. “The problems in Congo are vast and sometimes the whole problem feels just too huge to fix” says Bleasdale. “I think there’s one thing that we can do as consumers, and that is be aware of where our natural resources come from.” Bleasdale traces how the West’s consumer appetites have led to sub-human conditions for the Congolese people, and he suggests that we might make a difference simply by asking where the diamonds and gold in the jewelry we purchase originates. “There is always a hope that the future will be better,” he says. “A better-educated population leads to better questions, and a better questioning population leads to a better government.”
In conjunction with this exhibition, Anastasia Photo will give funds to the St Kizito Orphanage in Bunia, Congo.