Duke MFA Students Open DMZ Exhibit

On Thursday, February 15th, 2018 the John Hope Franklin Center and the Asian Pacific Studies Institute hosted an opening reception for “Looking North” a collaborative multimedia exhibition by Danny Kim (MFAEDA ’18) and Peter Lisignoli (MFAEDA ’13). The exhibit will be on display until March 30th, 2018.

Kim Addresses Audience

Danny Kim addresses the crowd.

“Looking North” documents the demilitarized zone (DMZ) at the border between North and South Korea. The exhibit shows the bucolic landscape of the 38th parallel juxtaposed against museums, gift shops, and amusement parts.

Lisignoli’s created this work during his second visit to the DMZ area. The experience left him with a feeling of displacement. Kim, a native Seoul-born Korean citizen who served in the military was struck by the oddity of the DMZ theme park where tourists looked longingly through the telescopes across the Imjin River, fascinated by the neighboring country, after more than six decades of separation.

Attendees of the “Looking North” reception has a chance to interact with Kim about the work.

Danny Kim Discusses Work

Danny Kim discusses his work.

One Rwanda: Portraits of Contemporary Life

Bill Bamberger, Sewing class in the children's village of Kigarama

Bill Bamberger, Sewing class in the children’s village of Kigarama

Exhibiting:  March 7, 2016 – August 5, 2016

Exhibition Statement

On the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, photographer Bill Bamberger traveled throughout the country to photograph the daily lives of the Rwandese people.

Like most documentarians visiting Rwanda at this historic time, Bamberger went there with plans to undertake a post-genocide project: to photograph children who had grown up parentless as a result of the genocide and were now raising families of their own.

But as Bamberger began to get to know the country and people, the focus of his project shifted. Over the course of three months, he journeyed by bus around Rwanda, meeting with Rwandese and international volunteers. During this time, he visited health clinics in Kigali’s poorest neighborhoods, schools in remote mountain villages, an orphanage on the banks of Lake Kivu, tea fields in the south, sugar cane fields in the north, national parks on the borders of the country and tennis clubs in Kigali’s most affluent neighborhoods.

Struck by the warmth, humanity, and collective resilience of the people as they sought to forge a new national identity, Bamberger stopped thinking about the Rwandese primarily as Hutus or Tutsis, or as perpetrators or survivors, as the international media most often portrayed them.

Instead, his photographs explore how the people of Rwanda are finding their way while faced with modern-day issues like healthcare, education and housing. We get a glimpse of how people are living side-by-side in ‘one Rwanda’, the government’s catchphrase for a country trying to put itself back together, 20 years after the genocide.

In the tradition of German photographer August Sander—whose landmark publication Face of Our Time depicted a diverse cross-section of society during the Weimer Republic—Bamberger’s portraits reveal the modern-day face of Rwanda and include: farmers, shopkeepers, taxi drivers, security guards, country club members, construction workers and orphaned children.




Bill Bamberger’s work explores large social issues of our time: the demise of the American factory, housing in America, and adolescents coming of age in an inner-city high school.  His first book, Closing: The Life and Death of an American Factory won the Mayflower Prize in Non-Fiction and was a semifinalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.  His photographs have appeared in Aperture, Doubletake, Harper’s and the New York Times Magazine.  He has had one-person exhibitions at the Yale University Art Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution, the North Carolina Museum of Art and the National Building Museum.  A trademark of Bamberger’s photography is that it is first shown in the neighborhood where it was created, prior to its museum exhibition.

Documenting Italy’s Refugees

On March 30th from 12:00pm – 1:00pm, storytellers and visual journalists Gabriela Arp and Andrea Patiño Contreras will share their experiences documenting the flood of refugees entering Europe through Italy during the Wednesdays at the Center series. Their most recently project, Divided by the Sea, outlines the African and Middle Eastern refugees crossing the Mediterranean to enter the EU through the small southern Italian town of Reggio Calabria.

On June 22nd, a Singaporean ship managed by the Danish shipping company TORM A/S, rescued two boats off the Libyan coast with 221 refugees mostly from West Africa and took them to the port of Reggio Calabria.

On June 22nd, a Singaporean ship managed by the Danish shipping company TORM A/S, rescued two boats off the Libyan coast with 221 refugees mostly from West Africa and took them to the port of Reggio Calabria.

Arp and Patiño Contreras are currently master’s students in the University of North Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism. Patiño Contreras graduated from Duke’s Trinity College in 2012 and studied Cultural Anthopology. A photo from the Dvided by the Sea project won Patiño Contreras the 2015 Duke Sanford School of Public Policy #PolicyinAction photo contest.

Watch “The Story Behind the Photo: Andrea Pantiño Contreras” produced by Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy:



Visualizing the Invisible “Jungle” of Calais

Photo from Visualizing the Invisible “Jungle” of Calais

Visualizing the Invisible “Jungle” of Calais: Migration, Security, and Infrastructure at the French-English Border

Opening reception on Septemeber 20th, 2018 at 5pm – 7pm.

Eric Leleu is an independent documentary photographer based in Northern France. He began his career as a documentary photographer in Shanghai in 2005, where he lived and worked until 2016. For the past thirteen years, Leleu has documented China’s changing urban landscapes and the way people use, transform, and play with their new and old environments. He also documented the craft of political propaganda and the many forms political communications take in China. He developed a body of personal work that blurs the boundaries between art and documentary, as well as reality and fiction. Today, he works in his home region where he is currently restoring the farm he grew up in and that he has been documenting for a long time. Leleu is currently using the buildings of his farm to create a photo gallery and a community center where farm produce will be sold. La Musette – Leleu’s farm – will open in 2019.

In 2017, he started to photograph the growing security infrastructure – border walls, flooded zones, watchtowers – meant to deter refugees and migrants from settling in Calais, France. In the meantime, he documents the Calais “jungles” – or makeshift camps – where people who risk their lives to cross the English Channel on a daily basis and where new solidarities emerge between migrants and a local population that was itself shaped by centuries of immigration. Working with anthropologist Vincent Joos, they plan to do long-term field work on both sides of the Strait of Dover.

Eric Leleu has published in the New York Times, The Guardian, Wirtschaft Woche, Madame Figaro, Le Monde, Le Courrier International and has held exhibitions in Asia and Europe.

This exhibition is an inTransit project. inTransit has partnered with the John Hope Franklin Center, the Nasher Museum of Arts, the Rubenstein Arts Center, Duke Libraries, and the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies’ Observatory on Europe.

inTransit is sponsored by the departments of Romance Studies and Art, Art History, and Visual Studies; by the French and Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States and the Duke Center for French and Francophone Studies; the Center for International and Global Studies and; the Social Practice Lab of the Franklin Humanities Institute.

inTransit has also benefited from an Intellectual Communities grant from the Provost’s Office, and an Arts and Sciences Council Research grant; support from the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts, the Office of the Dean of the Humanities, the Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation, the Duke Human Rights Archive, the Duke Africa Initiative, and the Puffin Foundation.

The Invisible “Jungle” of Calais: Migration & Photography at the Borders of Europe

In 2016, the British funded the construction of a thirteen-foot-high and half-mile-long anti-intrusion barrier in Calais, France. The “Great Wall of Calais”, that cost three million dollars and disfigures the dune landscape surrounding the port, is only one element in a large array of security infrastructures transforming this region over the past fifteen years.  Once more this city is a chokepoint for thousands of migrants; on the front-lines of the debate over those fleeing conflicts in the Middle-East, East and North Africa, or seeking a better life.

On the occasion of a photo exhibition in the John Hope Franklin Center Gallery, this panel discussion with a photographer and a cultural anthropologist will consider the social challenges and consequences of migration by exploring the methods used to deter migrants from coming to Calais and prevent them from crossing to Britain.  A series of photographs, 2017-2018, will be at the heart of the discussion, images that render visible the materialization of hardline immigration policies at the border between Europe and Brexit-land.   Panelists will address migration in the North of France to shed light on political developments in the region.  At issue is thinking about life in places where barbed wired fences, watchtowers, flooded zones bar the horizon, and police brutality is a daily affair.   The photo exhibition will also be presented in the context of the interdisciplinary project, in Transit, and this fall’s campus-wide set of exhibits that introduce a history and arts of migration around Europe.

Eric Leleu is an independent photographer who lives in Guesnain, France. After working for twelve years as a photographer and photojournalist in Shanghai, Leleu returned to France in 2017 where he’s presently concentrating on immigration and farming.  His earlier work addressed urban life, use of public space and politics in China, appearing in The New York Times, The Guardian, Wirtschaft Woche, Madame Figaro, Le Monde, and Courrier International.

Vincent Joos is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Florida State University. His research focuses on urban planning, informal economies and post-disaster reconstruction in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. More broadly, he is interested in the history of French and formerly French port-cities such as Cap Haitian, New Orleans, Natchez, Bordeaux, and Calais. Both Leleu and Joos are from the Hauts-de-France and have documented their region since the early 2000s.

Helen Solterer is Professor of French literature and culture, and co-convenor of the inTransit project, with Elvira Vilches, in the Romance Studies Dept.  Her most recent writing and teaching investigate the longue durée of pre-modern Francophone fictions:  theater, graphic narrative, historical chronicle, including the sieges of Calais. She is currently at work on a multi-media book on the subject.

This presentation is sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Center and the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies. A light lunch will be served. Parking is available in nearby Trent Rd. and Erwin Rd. parking decks. The series provides 1-hour parking vouchers to guests.