Photo exhibition highlights human trafficking issue

LOCAL artist Tim Doak will be hosting the opening night of a new photo exhibition in Millennium Court Arts Centre on Friday night.

‘Look At Me Now And Here I Am’ is a body of new photographic and video-based work by the artist.

It delves into the underground world of human trafficking and child prostitution. Doak presents fragmentary portraits of six young Cambodian women, all of whom have escaped their former incarceration in illegal brothels.

Doak graduated with a Masters Degree in Photography from the University of Ulster, Belfast in 2011, and has himself worked as a part-time lecturer in photography at Southern Regional College.

He has been represented in a number of exhibitions throughout the UK and Ireland and has contributed to a variety of publications including ‘Beautiful Dawn’.

He was awarded SIAP funding from ACNI in 2012.

Doak cites the formation of relationships with his ‘subjects’ as foremost in his methodology; this allows stories to emerge naturally. In this work the sensitivities, language and working time constraints encouraged close collaboration (photographic workshops and interviews) in the making of truly representative portraits.

The women are anonymous for various reasons, their faces obscured or their bodies turned completely but their surroundings, voices, gestures and physicality create a narrative of their current situations in view of their pasts.

The exhibition at once touches on a widespread problem in contemporary Cambodia (as well as the worldwide crisis in human trafficking), and one that is exacerbated partly by corruption, wealth disparity and by economic dependency produced by ‘sex tourism’.

This exhibition is the first instalment of what Doak intends to be an ongoing project in Cambodia.

This exhibition has been made possible through Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Craigavon Borough Council, Portadown 2000 and Ratanak International.