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Rwandan genocide survivors tell their stories through art exhibition at LSE

Heroes of Our Time: Rwandan Courage & Survival
Exhibition produced by the Survivors Fund (SURF), and organised by LSE Arts in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Human Rights

Monday 9 November – Friday 18 December 2009 (Mon-Fri, 10am- 8pm)
Atrium Gallery, Old Building, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Heroes of Our Time: Rwandan Courage & Survival presents a history of the 1994 Rwandan genocide and focuses on the situation in Rwanda today through the stories of four heroic survivors - Siméon Karamaga, Daphrose Mukangarambe, Cassien Mbanda and Ange Cendrine Mukayitesi.

The Bridge on the Kigali-Nyamata Road, Andrew Sutton/Survivors Fund, 2007Through personal testimony, imagery and film, the exhibition conveys the history of Rwanda, setting the context as to how the colonial years sowed the seeds for the genocide in which one million Tutsis, and a number of moderate Hutus, were killed in 100 days.

The exhibition also focuses on the need to ensure that the voices of survivors are listened to and heard, memory is kept alive, victims of the genocide are never forgotten and survivors of the genocide are supported.  Heroes of Our Time tells the stories of the survivors and their call for the international community to do more to deliver justice.

David Russell, director of SURF, said: 'There has been a great focus on chronicling the history of the Rwandan genocide, but often at the neglect of documenting the situation of the survivors today. Heroes Of Our Time is a landmark exhibition which conveys the ongoing challenges in post-genocide Rwanda. Through the testimonies of four heroic survivors the exhibition highlights the work of Survivors Fund (SURF) and its partners towards serving justice, preserving memory and providing support for survivors in Rwanda.'

Heroes Of Our Time focuses on the situation of the survivors of the Rwandan genocide today. The panels highlight through text and images the current priorities of the survivors, including justice, memory and education. The accompanying films feature the testimonies of four heroic survivors, conveying their experience before, during and after the genocide.

A series of lectures focusing on human rights will accompany the exhibition. A debate on media and identity examining how the Rwandan genocide was reported will take place on Tuesday 1 December and a Field Notes seminar will give testimonies from human rights defenders Bo Kyi and Mathilde Muhindo about their experiences in Burma and the Democratic Republic of Congo.



For interviews contact:

Richard Hylton, Arts Co-coordinator, LSE +44 (0)20 7852 3793 or arts@lse.ac.uk
David Russell, Director, Surf, +44 (0)20 7610 2589 or info@survivors-fund.org.uk

Exhibition: admission free, Atrium Gallery, Old Building, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE

  • Heroes of Our Time events: free and open to all, with no ticket required. However, entry is on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • For more information please visit: www.lse.ac.uk/arts, email: arts@LSE.ac.uk or call 020 7955 6043.

A reception for the exhibition will be held on Tuesday 10 November 2009, 7-9pm. Atrium Gallery, Old Building, LSE, hosted by Professor Sarah Worthington (Pro-Director, LSE) and a talk given by Dame Hilary Blume (Director of the Charities Advisory Trust) RSVP arts@lse.ac.uk

Heroes of Our Time was made possible by LSE's Centre for the Study of Human Rights, SURF, LSE Annual Fund, Polis, LSE Arts and Harvard International PLC.

Survivors Fund (SURF) is a British-based charity founded by Mary Kayitesi Blewitt OBE.  It works to raise awareness of the plight of the survivors of the Rwandan genocide and to secure support and funding to rebuild their lives.

LSE Arts

LSE does not teach arts or music, but it does have a vibrant cultural side which includes weekly music concerts, an orchestra and choir with their own professional conductors and numerous student art societies. LSE Arts is a three year funded initiative within the School which aims to not only present high quality cultural events for students, staff and public, but to also explore and nurture closer links between the arts and social sciences through a rolling programme of contemporary art exhibitions, talks and events. Through this work the School hopes to provide a different and somewhat unique perspective on the arts and the social sciences.

Explore LSE's arts and music and discover the School's cultural talent and diversity at http://www.lse.ac.uk/arts


Field Notes: Human Rights Defenders Speak
Hosted by the Centre for the Study of Human Rights in partnership with Human Rights Watch
Thursday 12 November 2009, 12.30-1.30pm, Room D302, Clement House, LSE

In this ninth 'Field notes' event, human rights defenders from Burma and the Democratic Republic of Congo discuss their experiences, accompanied by experts from Human Rights Watch.

As a former political prisoner and co-founder of the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, Bo Kyi works tirelessly to secure the release of Burmese people who have been jailed for their political independence and activism.  Bo Kyi shares his story to expose the brutal military junta's abuses, which have been on full display in recent months following the devastating cyclone in Burma.

As director of a woman's rights NGO, Mathilde Muhindo empowers women to fight against pervasive discrimination and sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo's recent bloody conflicts. To address the crisis of tens of thousands of rapes in eastern Congo she founded a parliamentary committee to investigate rape as a weapon of war.

Info: arts@lse.ac.uk or call +44 (0)955 6043

The Polis Media Dialogues
Media and Identity: Reporting the Rwandan Genocide
Tuesday 1 December 2009 5-6.30pm, New Theatre, East Building

Two survivors of the Rwandan genocide, Patrick Iregura and Serge Rwigamba, join Channel 4 News' World Editor (and Survivors Fund Patron) Lindsey Hilsum to reflect on how the story was told before, during and after the brutal events.  It will examine the gaps between reality on the ground during times of mass atrocity and humanitarian crisis, and the public's perception of it, as gleaned from the media in the West.

Info: polis@lse.ac.uk or call: +44 (0) 20 7405 7686

Broke: Voices from the edge
Hosted by the Centre for the Study of Human Rights in partnership with Ice and Fire UN International human rights day event
Thursday 10 December 2009, 6.30-8pm, Old Theatre, Old Building

Using dialogue from real-life interviews with people living in poverty in the UK, the actors explore the dismal side-effects of such gross disadvantage - the homelessness, the lack of affordable housing, the unemployment, the debt, and much else besides.  The plight of the poor on its own doorstep mocks Britain's aspiration to be an ethical force in the world and a beacon of human rights standards at home.  Often unseen and unheard, this performance gives the poor a voice.

Throughout his long life Professor Peter Townsend - a great friend of the Centre, advocate of human rights, and emeritus professor at LSE - worked hard first to prove the existence of poverty in Britain and then to persuade our society not to take such deprivation for granted.  Peter Townsend died in June this year and this performance of 'Broke' by Actors for Human Rights, is dedicated to his memory.

Info: arts@lse.ac.uk or call +44 (0)955 6043

 30 October 2009