FILM editor Shane Burrell has combined his passion for helping disadvantaged people with his talent for capturing images to create an exhibit of subjects he photographed in his own time while on assignment in Africa in February.
The show, entitled Satisfaction, will be open from 7am to 7pm on Saturday and Sunday and from Tuesday through Friday next week. It includes 18 images he curated from more than 300 photos he shot for his own use while working in Kenya and Uganda for Baptist World Aid.
The images will be offered for sale through silent auction, along with 40 other “postcard images” for $40 each. The funds raised going to Baptist World Aid. Bids will be taken through shaneburrell.com.au.
Immediately prior to travelling to Africa, Burrell had been doing final colour work on a documentary, A Brilliant Genocide, by Melbourne filmmaker Ebony Butler. The film reveals details for 20-year war between Josephy Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army and the Ugandan government under President Yoweri Museveni.
The movie was unveiled in Washington last month and has already garnered two awards already.
“I think it definitely created that platform mentally and emotionally for me, to experience it first hand,” Burrell says of the film, which depicts physically damaged people and horrific stories of crimes and deaths.
He is trying to re-create the atmosphere of his own African experience in the exhibit, he says. While he did not witness violence, or fear for his safety, he was exposed to the poverty of villagers in the countries he visited and the terror of Uganda’s capital Kampala as armed soldiers patrolled the streets in the week leading up to the national election (won by Museveni).
A key image in the show is of a 20-year-old woman called Elizabeth. Burrell will reveal the image at a closing party on Friday, April 29, at the Parry Street venue.
“She is the real reason why I put the exhibit on,” Burrell says.
His encounter with Elizabeth was dramatic, and unforgettable.
“We went to this farm and I saw this blob of a human in a wheelchair in a yard with a cloud of flies around,” he recounted. “I avoided it to start with. Then we were invited into the house. The girl was put right in front of me. Probably at this time I was confronted with her and looked at her. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
“This beauty, life and joy emanating from her, covered in flies, drooling, with a contorted body. Something in me snapped: she is a beautiful human, I thought, she is so full of joy.”
There will be a chair near the image of Elizabeth; Burrell wants the audience to focus on the story of her life. “I want to make the focus beyond the image, to focus on the story of her life,” he says. There will be a seat in front of her where you can have a “face to face” experience, he says.