NICK DANZIGER: REVISITED 23 February – 8 April 2018
The bowl is empty. There is no rice in the pot, no flour in the larder. Nothing. Tonight in Cambodia, Chakriya and her children will not eat. In Honduras Franklin and his grandmother will go hungry, unless he agrees to sell drugs. In Uganda Miriam and Monica will share a single dish of cassava, and hope that drunken village men do not come for them again after dark. In Niger Aisha’s twins may starve to death.
Today on every continent millions of impoverished men and women have insufficient means to feed both themselves and their families. Do they eat so they can work and earn, or do they feed their children and so waste away themselves? Corruption, disease, war and discrimination further disadvantage the poor, sapping strength and opportunity, condemning whole strata of societies to enduring destitution.
In 2000 every United Nations member state agreed on eight Millennium Development Goals. By 2015 extreme poverty and hunger were to be eradicated, primary education was to be offered to all, gender equality promoted and the battle intensified against HIV/AIDS and other diseases. The world’s governments committed themselves to reduce child mortality, to improve maternal health and to expand both environmental stability and ‘global development partnerships’.
The Goals were ambitious, honourable – and open to political manipulation. Some national governments were less than determined to implement them. Others diverted available funds to far-from-needy causes.
In 2005, the photographer Nick Danziger was commissioned by the international development and advocacy organization World Vision to create an archive of photographs documenting the lives of women and children in eight countries around the world. With the support of further sponsors, Nick returned five years later – and again in 2015 with author Rory MacLean – to assemble an extraordinary, stark portrait of life on the edge, and of our 21st century family of man. Had the Millennium Development Goals succeeded in giving the families a better life? Did their sons no longer go to bed hungry? Are their daughters now able to go to school? Or have the UN’s grand intentions ended up as nothing more than another futile, feel-good publicity exercise to ease the consciences of national leaders?
Poverty destroys families, communities, nations.Around the world almost one billion people still live on less than $1.25 a day. The future will change – and society will become truly humane – only when we look at the world in a common context. No one will be unmoved by these stories of our family of man.
Image: Gallery 2 installation Nick Danziger:Revisited, ANU Drill Hall Gallery. Photographer Anthony Basheer