FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CHICAGO, April 11, 2008 – The Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA), in partnership with Loyola University Chicago’s student organization Invisible Conflicts, presents Be a Witness, a stirring exhibition that calls attention to the children affected by the civil war in Northern Uganda. The exhibition, on display in LUMA’s Push Pin Gallery through April 27, 2008, features artwork that conveys the violence and tragedy created by the conflict, which has been called “the world’s biggest neglected humanitarian crisis,” by Jan Egeland, the United Nations Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs.
The exhibition is a result of the Dwon Madiki Partnership (DMP), which supports the education, mentorship, and empowerment of 21 Ugandan children, 5 of whom have contributed art work to Be a Witness. Many children have suffered at the hands of Northern Uganda’s rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, which has abducted thousands of children and left many more orphans or children of single-parent homes. Through DMP, these children are encouraged to use art as a tool for self-expression and healing.
Because the plight of Ugandans is largely ignored by the Western media, LUMA, Invisible Conflicts, and DMP hope to raise awareness by exhibiting the drawings, poems, and other artwork of Ugandan children.
“The goal of this exhibition is to give voice to the children of this long-running conflict. We want LUMA’s visitors to gain an understanding of the tragedies taking place outside of the United States,” says Ann Meehan, curator of education at the museum. “When I was approached by a student from Invisible Conflicts, I knew the exhibition was a way to ask people to notice the unnoticed.”
Drawings, poems, and artwork on exhibit were created by five children through the Dwon Madiki Partnership. These children, ranging in age from 7 to 12, all come from homes affected by the violence in Uganda, but still find time for games, reading, studying, and self expression.
About the Dwon Madiki Partnership
Grace Odonga, a member of a community-based organization in Uganda, shared pictures and names of 21 Ugandan children who did not have the resources to attend school, with members of Invisible Conflicts. DMP was formed to help these children get an education by providing funding for school, a mentoring program to monitor the children’s success, and an outlet for artistic expression. Dwon Madiki has an office in Uganda where the children come to play after school, are tutored, and check in with Grace, the local administrator. Together with Invisible Conflicts, DMP hopes to raise awareness of the Northern Ugandan conflicts and amplify the voices of the innocent.
The Loyola University Museum of Art, opened in October 2005, is dedicated to the exploration, promotion, and understanding of art and artistic expression that attempts to illuminate the enduring spiritual questions and concerns of all cultures and societies. As a museum with an interest in education and educational programming, LUMA reflects the University’s Jesuit mission and is dedicated to helping men and women of all creeds explore the roots of their own faith and spiritual quest. Located at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus, the museum occupies the main floor (street level), second, and third floors of the University’s historic Lewis Towers on Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue. For more information, please visit the museum’s website at LUC.edu/luma.