Speaking Tours / Exhibits - Linda Panetta / Optical Realities

St. Bonaventure University

“Photographs Reveal Poverty"

By Jarrad Enslow

Staff Writer


Beginning Feb. 1, the Quick Center for the Arts (QAC), is displaying the work of photojournalist and activist Linda Panetta, who is working to bring human rights issues closer to home.

Panetta’s photographs are taken from around the work and will be on display in the QAC until March 1.

Panetta founded Optical Realities Photography, an organization that uses photojournalism and education to raise awareness of world events, cultures and the environment. The photographs displayed in the QAC include photos from Bethlehem, Baghdad, Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala and Haiti.

Each photograph shows different cultures of the world and some of the issues people of those culture deal with. One or two paragraphs accompany each photo to provide more information on the picture.

One picture displayed is from Kabul, Afghanistan. In this picture, a little girl is seen kissing her brother, and he has a large smile on his fact.

The accompanying paragraph for this photo explains that the children’s father had been killed in the war, and they are left homeless and without money.

Another photo on display is from Haiti. In this picture a group of young boys wait in line for younger children to finish eating so they can have the only hot meal they will have that week.

Some students said they appreciated this exhibition.

“There was one picture I really like,” said Chris Cole, a sophomore physical education major. “It was of a woman showing the identification cards of her missing family. The picture shows what the people of Iraq are going through. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like.”

The QAC added this exhibition because last spring the staff invited any professors with ideas for an exhibition to come to a meeting and discuss them, said Evelyn Penman, QAC curator.

“We were looking to add some exhibitions that would help diversify the exhibition schedule and at the same time go along with classes being taught,” said Penman.

The exhibition goes along with the Religion and Terrorism class, taught by Dr. Chris Stanley. Stanley knew of Panetta and wanted her work to be displayed on campus. He is also hoping for Panetta to give a lecture on campus, Penman said.

Panetta’s work has been displayed throughout the United States, Canada and Europe . Her work has been aired in newspapers, books and magazines and had been aired on television networks.

Panetta also produced and directed an award-winning documentary titled “An Insider Speaks Out!” The documentary focuses on the abuses of the School of the Americas, a military training facility.

More of Panetta’s work can be seen on Optical Realities Web site.

The staff at the QAC has been working on other diversity projects, and it would like to increase them, Penman said. Reflections is a viewer-participation exhibit. One picture was hung in the front gallery, and the staff asked for viewers to comment on the picture.

Some students have shown interest in Panetta’s work and would like to see more similar works displayed in the QAC.

“I really enjoyed this exhibit,” said Brian Conant, a sophomore business major. “I think the photos show a lot of how people around the world are living and the issues they are dealing with. I think the QAC should display more exhibits like this one. Students can gain a lot from them.”

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