The idea of Africa many Westerners carry in their heads is largely a product of myth and misinformation. The images we see on cable news are almost all negative. Many of the newspaper and magazine stories we read focus largely on the continent’s manifold problems, from the Rwandan genocide and its many regional echoes to rampant disease and hunger. Tales of hope and success in Africa appear less frequently, not because they’re difficult to find but because they threaten to disrupt the narrative.
But Buffalo-bred photographer Brendan Bannon sees a much different Africa than the one that appears on CNN. “Brendan Bannon: Portraits in Landscape,” an exhibition running through June 25 in Nina Freudenheim Gallery (140 North St.), aims to expand and complicate our understanding of Africa’s cities and its people. His photographs chronicle the changing lives and landscapes of the country in ways that tend to make this supposedly exotic place much more familiar.
The show features images Bannon made during recent trips to Somalia, Congo, South Sudan, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
The pictures, Bannon said in a release, “are meant to challenge people to see deeper. They are not what you expect and if they are then you should look again.” He continued: “The challenge in photographing these places is always to hold complex and often oppositional realities in mind.”
The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and by appointment on Saturday and Monday. Call 882-5777 or visit www.ninafreudenheimgallery.com.
– Colin Dabkowski