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Darfur Exhibit

The United States District Court gratefully presents Rwanda: After, Darfur: Now. Artist Michal Ronnen Safdie traveled to Rwanda in 2002 and to the Chadian border of Sudan’s Darfur region in 2004 to document the aftermath of genocides. Her images of Rwanda reflect the terrifying events that occurred more than fifteen years ago and show how Rwandans are still trying to come to terms with the unbearable memory of genocide. The photographs of refugees of Darfur set against the desolate landscape of the Chadian desert depict the extreme hardships faced by the survivors who have fled the genocide in Sudan and now face starvation, disease, and the constant threat of attack.

More fundamentally, these photographs portray the results of human savagery in countries characterized by a culture of impunity rather than by the rule of law. After the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, 14 prosecutors and 244 judges were left to contend with the 800,000 murders and 120,000 suspects. The world once more declared “never again.” Then came Darfur. These powerful and poignant images challenge each of us with the writer James Agee’s timeless question: "Who are you who will read these words and study these photographs, and through what cause, by what chance, and for what purpose, and by what right do you qualify to, and what will you do about it?"

—Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf
United States District Court
for the District of Massachusetts


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About the Artist

Michal Ronnen Safdie was born in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1951. She studied sociology and anthropology at the Hebrew University and Brandeis University. Her photographs are noted for their diverse range, encompassing subjects from the natural world and the human subject in the center of socio political events.

Ronnen Safdie’s projects have included a two-year documentation of life at the Western Wall, an abstract series of ice on the Charles River, and a series entitled Anthropomorphic Trees. In Safdie’s current project, Turning to the Sky, she captures vapor trails, which she uses as commentary on air traffic and our occupation of the atmosphere.

In 2002, Ronnen Safdie documented some of the pre-Gacaca trials in Rwanda, which attempted to impose a system of community justice of the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide. In October 2004, she photographed refugees from Darfur in camps on the border of Chad. These two bodies of work became the exhibit Rwanda: After, Darfur: Now.

Michal Ronnen Safdie’s photographs have been exhibited in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Toronto, Berlin, and Paris, among other cities.


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