The West Virginia Division of Culture and History has opened a new exhibition, Photographs by Paul Corbit Brown, in the wings off the Great Hall of the Cultural Center, Capitol Complex, Charleston. Visitors are invited to come view the show through Feb. 29, and meet the artist after a live interview and question and answer session in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater on Friday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. A reception will be held in the Great Hall after the interview. The exhibition, interview and reception are free and open to the public.
Brown was born in the small coal camp of Kilsyth in southern West Virginia. He has been taking photographs since he was 12 years old. A social activist, his work has led him to travel throughout the United States, Mexico, Jamaica, Kenya, Russia, Israel, Laos, Thailand, Rwanda and most recently, Indonesia.
Kristi Rudelius-Palmer, co-director of the University of Minnesota’s Human Rights Center says of him, “Paul Corbit Brown is an amazing photographer and a passionate individual. We must allow ourselves to stand in front of his photographs and stare into the eyes of those around the world affected by social and human injustices.”
In the 35 photographs on display, visitors can see images of street children singing for food or money, and people living under bridges who collect plastic bottles to sell or trade for food in Jakarta, Indonesia. In Kingston, Jamaica, we see the lives of some 8,000 people who live beside the garbage dump in Riverton City. Kibera, Kenya, the second largest slum in the world with a population larger than one million, provides stark images of poverty and homelessness.
Brown has taken photographs showing an Israeli soldier sharing his lunch with a Palestinian boy, olive harvests, a picture taken at the aftermath of a suicide bus bombing and the desert in Jordan. His most recent ongoing project is to document the long-range effects of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and the resiliency of the people there struggling to overcome the past as they forge a new future. He says, “I began interviewing and photographing people from all walks of life in order to come to understand the origins of the genocide, how it affected them, how it continues to affect them, and how they are working to overcome these effects through faith-based reconciliation programs, government regulations and reconciliation programs, and the role of non-governmental organizations in the healing/rebuilding process.” Many of his images are of the estimated 1.5-million children left homeless and parentless as a result of the genocide. AIDS also orphans children at the astounding rate of four per minute. One photo shows Zura, a witchdoctor who saved 150 lives during the genocide and eventually received a presidential medal for her courage.
When not traveling, Brown can be found in the solar-powered home he designed and built in Fayette County. He supports himself through his work with numerous Human Rights organizations as well as freelance work for countless publications and the sale of his prints. Brown has had significant exhibitions in Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, Md.; Columbus, Ohio; Minneapolis, Minn.; and a number of galleries in West Virginia. More of his photographs can be seen on his website at www.paulcorbitbrown.com.
Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner of the Division, will interview Brown, and open up the floor to a question and answer session. Images of Brown’s work will be shown during the interview.
For more information about the exhibition or the interview, contact Proctor at (304) 558-0220, ext. 120.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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Media Note: Paul Corbit Brown is currently shooting photographs and teaching photography to young students in Jakarta, Indonesia, where it is 12 hours ahead of our Eastern Standard Time. He can be reached at 011 62 8131 814 2621 or by e-mail at email@example.com until Jan. 24. From Jan. 26 on, he can be reached at the same e-mail address or at (202) 841-0222. Photos are available at our website www.wvculture.org, attached to this press release.
Photograph of Paul C Brown on location in Israel/Palestine
Orphans in Rwanda, photo by Paul C. Brown.