Lani Holmberg, winner of the Exposing Hunger, Capturing Solutions photo competition, reflects on her recent trip to Kenya and Zimbabwe with ActionAid and AFAP as she prepares for her upcoming exhibition.
Ah there’s nothing like seeing your photographs printed. Too often thousands upon thousands of images lie lost and lonely on hard drives, back-up hard drives and back-up-back-up hard drives never to grace a single piece of paper.
I let out a little squeal when I unrolled the test prints of my Africa images to be exhibited next week. Gloriously big, warm & colourful and oh so tangible in my hands. Suddenly the exhibition feels very real and while a teeny bit nervous at the thought of a roomful of people looking at my work, I can’t wait for the opportunity to share what I saw and learnt in Africa.
The opening night of the exhibition also marks a month since I returned from my trip to Kenya and Zimbabwe. The first few days back in Sydney brought with them an overhwhelming sense of gratitude I suppose. Thankful to lead a life where my future is in my hands, mine to frame how I want it. Thankful to feel safe and know that the next meal is only a few hours away.
The trip was always going to be a humbling experience and it has certainly planted both of my feet on the ground and reminded me what’s important.
Talking about what I experienced on the trip with friends and family has for the most part confirmed the fact that there are many misconceptions about Africa, poverty and hunger. It is so hard to imagine the life of someone experiencing such challenges without seeing it for youself.
Empathy is so hard to achieve with such a disconnect. That being said, the exhibition addresses this very issue - to break down stereotypes and forge a connection between Australians and the women I met in Africa through my images. I’m looking forward to standing next these images of strong women and being able to tell their individual stories – stories where poverty and disadvantage is just one part.
One of the Zimbabwean farmers I met – Saru – is being flown over for the week and will be at the exhibition launch. I can’t wait to see her face when she sees a total of eight photographs up on the wall documenting a day in the life for her and her children. Having her there is going to be very special and so important for others to be able to meet her and put a face to the stories of strength and resilliance the exhibition is going tell. Aside from an infectious laugh and beaming smile, I know many people will be inspired by her motivation to determine her own future through pig breeding and sustainable farming.
So a week to go… getting butterflies every now and again just thinking about it. Until then we’re focussing on media interviews to spread the word about the exhibition and the solutions to hunger I learnt about … looking forward to seeing you at Tap Gallery.
Lani's photos will be on display at the Tap Gallery from 16-21 October. Be inspired by the stories of strength, resilience and courage of farmers overcoming poverty and hunger; and see innovative solutions to a world free from hunger.
Exhibition dates: 16-21 October 2012
Venue: Tap Gallery, 278 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst, NSW
Hours: 12-6pm daily