The Invisible Children: Breaking the Silence

April 25, 2011 at 2:50 pm (Art Unravelled, Uncategorized)

In April of 2006, I saw this photograph on The Oprah Winfrey Show that haunted me. The photo was of a group of children in Uganda who on a nightly basis were being locked in cages for their own safety. Known as the “nightwalkers,” they walk—some for as long as two hours a night—to camps run by the Ugandan government and non-governmental organizations. Once there, the children agree to be locked in a cage and guarded from the marauding LRA. In the morning, the children return to their homes and work in the fields.

Aside from the humanitarian crisis pictured in this photograph,  I made the connection to the fact that this photo was reminiscent of so many pictures I had seen of children during the Holocaust. The Germans and their collaborators killed as many as 1.5 million children, including over a million Jewish children.

Two years later, still haunted by the photo I had seen on television, I decided to contact the organization behind the photo called Invisible Children. The organization was founded by three young college students who, in the spring of 2003, traveled to Africa in search of a story. What started as a documentary about the nightwalkers, ended up being a global movement. 

The Nightwalkers brooch, suspended by a "chain" of fibers stamped with the names of all The Concentration Camps.

The organization sent me over 70 photographs, as well as information about the invisible children of Uganda to use in a piece inspired by the nightwalkers story. The “Nightwalkers” brooch was part of my 2008 Out of the Box exhxibition at Artspace. The intention of the piece was to inform and educate the public about the Invisible Children movement.

 
Last week, the three founders of Invisible Children were on The Oprah Winfrey Show again to give an update on the children of Uganda and to promote The 25 Campaign, which started yesterday and runs through tonight with concerts to “break the silence” in various cities around the United States.
 
“There’s so much noise in the world,” Invisible Children’s Jason Russell told Oprah. “We thought, ‘What if we all stayed silent for 25 hours?’ So, on April 24, we’re going silent for 25 hours, and we’re asking people for their time, talent and money.”
 
For more information, on Invisible Children, or to make a $25 donation to The 25 Campaign, visit  www.invisiblechildren.com. To hear what the co-founders of Invisible Children told Oprah about nightwalkers in Uganda today, click here. For first hand account of a child soldier, read Stephen’s Story.
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2 Comments

  1. number6 said,

    Trying to get mileage for the holohoax from the real suffering of real children.

    Like

    • onlylauren said,

      I wasn’t going to initially respond to your comment on my blog, however, I feel that I must. I did not jump on The Invisible Children bandwagon because it was “fashionable” or “trending”. I understand that this organization is currently making news with its KONY documentary, but this post was posted in 2009 and the Invisible Children inspired piece of artwork I created was made in 2008. In fact, I worked with the organization to obtain photographs to incorporate into my artwork to increase awareness on a local level. At the exhibition in which I exhibited this piece, I spoke about this organization, which I support whole heartedly and distributed information about their campaigns. I assure I am not trying to get mileage out of the awful injustices against children around the world, and if you read any part of my blog post, you would know that.

      Like

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