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Images of Youth Violence in Latin America: photographs by Donna DeCesare

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Venue: The Atrium, Student Services Centre, Old Building, London School of Economics and Political Science, London WC2
Private view: Thursday 26 May, 7.45-9pm
Exhibition open to the public: Friday 27 May - 15 July

Award-winning photographer Donna DeCesare will show some of her latest work at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) this summer - an exhibition she calls Hijos del Destino: Images of Youth Violence in Latin America.

The exhibition is a collection of around 24 photo novelas exploring how war, trauma and gangs impact the personal choices and social stigmas faced by young people across the Americas. Focusing on transnational youth gangs, Hijos del Destino shows the tragic consequence of repression and impunity and the potential for social documentary photography.

A preview of one of the photo novellas can be seen at http://www.pixelpress.org/contents/donna_edgar/index.html| 

DeCesare said: 'The exhibition is inspired by my experience of covering the wars of Central America in the 1980s as a photojournalist. I grew concerned about the fate of young war refugees growing up in tough neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Some were finding solace for rejection, economic options and a place to forge identity or share traumatic memories in the gangs of their new country's barrios. With changing US drug and immigration laws in the 1990s, many youths were sent back to countries they left as small children. Over ten years I covered the lives of deported gang members and the worsening conditions in Central America. These pictures tell some of their stories.'

The LSE connection is because the exhibition accompanies a joint conference by the LSE Crisis States Programme and the Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA - University of London on Youth Violence in Latin America: gangs, street children, and juvenile justice in perspective.)

Keynote speaker at the conference will be Dr Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the joint UN-UNICEF-UNHCHR independent expert on violence against children and former Brazilian minister for human rights and UN special envoy to Myanmar.

Conference organisers are Dr Dennis Rodgers of LSE's Development Studies Institute, DESTIN, and Dr Gareth Jones, senior lecturer in Geography and Environment. The exhibition is supported by the School's Arts Advisory Group, set up to promote cultural projects related to LSE's academic focus on the social sciences.

Dr Jones said: 'The conference aims to highlight many important issues about youth violence in Latin America. Donna's work, as a renowned photographer, strikingly conveys the reality of the problem. We are delighted to be able to host this exhibition.'


Contact: Dr Gareth Jones at email: g.a.jones@lse.ac.uk| 


The exhibition will support a website www.destinyschildren.org| (going live May 2005) which it is hoped will become a tool for educators, activists and youth working to address the challenges and legacy of youth violence, and the possibilities for activist networking through the internet.

After completing an M.Phil in Literature (1979) at the University of Essex, Donna DeCesare began working as a freelance photographer, becoming a founding member of the Impact Visuals Photography cooperative in 1984. Since then DeCesare's work has been published in news and arts publications including: The New York Times magazine, Life, Newsweek, The Atlantic, Aperture, DoubleTake, Mother Jones and others. In 1996 she began collaborating as a videographer on documentary films broadcast on PBS and THE LEARNING CHANNEL. Her work on the documentary Killer Virus won a 1996 Emmy Award for Best Coverage of a Continuing News Story. She is the recipient of fellowships and grants including the Dorothea Lange prize (1993), the Alicia Patterson fellowship (1997), the Mother Jones International Photo Fund grant (1999), and the Soros Independent Project fellowship (2001). Her photographs of US and Latin American gang violence won Special Recognition in the 2000 Canon Photo essay contest, Judges Recognition in the category of Journalistic Impact in the 2000 Alfred Eisenstaedt Magazine Photography contest and the 2000 PASS award from the National Center on Crime and Delinquency. In 2002 her photo reportage from Colombia won a first place award in the web division of the NPPA Best of Photojournalism.

DeCesare joined the journalism faculty at University of Texas an Assistant Professor in 2002. In 2003 she was named a fellow of the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma and in 2004 she joined the Advisory Board of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. This year she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to work in Colombia for six months at the end of 2005.

Press cuttings

P 26. Picture: The skull beneath the skin (28 May 05)
Images of life on Latin American Streets. Print of photograph by Donna DeCesare, forms part of her exhibition Hijos del Destino: Images of Youth Violence in Latin America. The show is on display at LSE and runs until July 15.

5 April 2005