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Intended Consequences: Rwandan Children Born of Rape

Aperture Foundation
547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor, 212-505-5555
Chelsea
February 20 - May 7, 2009
Reception: Thursday, March 5, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site


Coinciding with the publication of the Aperture book of the same title and the 15th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, Aperture Gallery is proud to present Intended Consequences: Rwandan Children Born of Rape, photographs and interviews by Jonathan Torgovnik.

This important exhibition brings together the powerful portraits and testimonies of thirty-one Rwandan women who were subjected to massive sexual violence by members of the infamous Hutu militia groups during the 1994 genocide, and who all bore a child as a result. Many of these women contracted HIV during the same encounters that left them pregnant, and witnessed their families and children being brutally beaten and killed. For the past two years, Torgovnik has gathered the intensely personal accounts of these survivors, many of whom have not shared their stories until now. In the interviews that accompany Torgovnik’s beautiful, moving portraits, these women address how the stigmas of rape and “having a child of the militia” have led them to be shunned by their communities, the challenges they face today, and their conflicted feelings about raising a child who is a constant reminder of horrors endured.

The exhibition includes a striking multimedia installation produced by MediaStorm (http://mediastorm.org/0024.htm), which gives visitors the chance to experience the heart-wrenching stories of the survivors from the women themselves.

On April 7, to commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of the start of the Rwandan genocide, a satellite exhibition will open in the lobby of the United Nations. During the opening reception, which begins at 1:30 p.m., there will be a “Readings of the Testimonies” presentation, which will include some of the women’s stories featured in the Aperture book and show.

On Wednesday, April 29, Aperture will present a panel discussion with Torgovnik and others to be announced.

This Aperture exhibition will travel to ten universities in the United States, including Kniznick Gallery, Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts; Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston, South Carolina; Bernstein Gallery at Princeton University, New Jersey; and other venues worldwide.

Jonathan Torgovnik’s (b. 1969, Israel) photographs have been widely exhibited and published in numerous international publications, including Newsweek, Aperture, GEO, Sunday Times Magazine, and Stern, among others. He has been a contract photographer for Newsweek magazine since 2005, and a faculty member at the International Center of Photography School in New York. In 2007, Torgovnik won the National Portrait Gallery’s Photographic Portrait Prize for an image from Intended Consequences. He is co-founder with Jules Shell of Foundation Rwanda (www.foundationrwanda.org), a non-profit organization that supports secondary school education for children born of rape in Rwanda and links their mothers with existing psychological and medical services.

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