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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Photography exhibition for families of knife + gun crime victims

An internationally acclaimed photographer has contacted me to discuss thoughtful plans for a memorial exhibition celebrating, honouring and remembering the lives of victims of violence - killed by knife, gun (and gang) crime.

In his own words, here’s Sal’s message, especially for the family, friends and anyone else connected and affected by fatal violent attacks in the year 2007.

Exhibition: 27 December 2008

My name is Sal Idriss. My work is exhibited in the permanent collection of London's National Portrait Gallery and has featured on the covers the Guardian, The Times, GQ magazine, Mojo, and ES magazine. I write to you to invite you to participate in my latest photographic exhibition entitled "FAMOUS FOR THE WRONG REASONS", which is both the most ambitious and personal journey I have undertaken.

On December 27, 2007, my younger brother became the 27th young person to fall victim to knife and gun crime in Islington, Angel, and London. This devastating personal experience has heightened my awareness of the countless other families throughout London who, like my own, have witnessed the unfortunate loss of a loved one to senseless violence and criminality. By exposing the true impact of street crime on our communities and by putting real faces to generalized "victims".

My aim is to educate young people and use the emotional power of photography to deter those vulnerable to or already engaged in criminality. My intention is simply to present devastated families honestly. Not as names and numbers in the system, but as the families who are famous for the wrong reasons.

I plan an exhibition that highlights the families that were affected by the violence last year. A chance to grieve and honour the lives of those lost, including my brother. This will be a collective exhibition with a unique individualism as it explores the raw emotion and unique way in which different families mourn the loss of a loved one.

I plan on picking a location in each borough to project out portraits of the families affected, to humanise them.

I have facilitated photographic workshops with young people at Pyramid Youth Development Project (PYDP) and FBMF to create a portfolio of images for the exhibition for the National Portrait Gallery, Education Department on two photographic exhibitions, titled:

“Circling The Square” an exhibition about the history of the Trafalgar Square, 13 September 2003 - February 2004

“Local Heroes” an exhibition about 9/11 incident in 2001 and the exhibition was a year later in conjunction with Vanity Fair Magazine, USA, 2002

Participants: Ben Yiga, Thelma Lavery, Emanuel Ferris-Hue, and Travis Lewis.

To realize this project, my aims are:

* Camera film, development and exhibition prints
* Exhibition posters to advertise projection
* Video footage of the research
* Advertising - posters on London Buses, Bus stops, Train stations, etc
* Travel expenses to the locations of the families


1. To locate and have access to 27 families who lost a loved one to gang, gun, and knife crime in London last year
2. Spaces / locations in the 27 areas which are able to accommodate large crowds and the projection of large images, such as onto the side of a building or projection board
3. Press and publicity – access to national and local newspaper and magazine networks
4. Costs of producing a website to replicate the exhibition online
5. Contact with local youth worker volunteers and assistants to help with promotions before the opening date and the running of the exhibitions
6. Book publication / publishers for educational books with a DVD footage of the interviews of all the families

This is a free public event and it is my intention that this exhibition reaches the largest possible audience.

Here follows the tragic roll call from last year that Sal plans to record using his photographic talents:

Sal Idriss | F.F.T.W.R
Murdered Victims Families to be Photographed

1. Jan 1 - Stephen Boachie, 17 - Ghananian born A-level student stabbed to death on his way home in Barking. Hoped to study engineering at Birmingham University

2. Jan 19 - Dean Rashid Lahlou, 18 - Budding young businessman stabbed to death in Tottenham

3. Jan 24 - Jevon Henry, 18 - St Lucian born student stabbed to death of St John's Wood.

4. Feb 3 - James Andre Smartt-Ford, 16. Shot twice outside Streatham ice rink.

5. Feb 6 - Michael Dosunmu, 15 - Model pupil shot dead - two days after celebrating birthday - in case of mistaken identity in his bedroom by two intruders who burst into his Peckham home.

6. Feb 14 - Billy Cox, 15 - Shot dead in his bedroom at his Clapham home by a rival drugs gang.

7. Mar 14 - Kodjo Yenga, 16 - Chased up the road in Hammersmith by a young gang of youths wearing school blazers. The schoolboy was knifed in the heart and leg.

8. Mar 17 - Adam Regis, 15 - Promising sportsman and talented schoolboy and cousin of Olympic athlete John Regis. Stabbed to death in a late night attack while alone on a Plaistow street following a night out with girlfriend

9. April 6 - Paul Erhahon, 14 - Schoolboy stabbed fatally in the chest in Leytonstone.

10. May 18 - Dwaine Douglas, 18 - Stabbed to death during a street fight in Thornton Heath

11. June 12 - Danielle Johnson, 17 Bullied teenager stabbed and beaten in May 28 in Bounds Green. She died later in hospital on June of her injuries.

12. June 19 - Sian Simpson, 18 - Ambushed and stabbed to death in a clash between two groups of girls in Croydon.

13. June 23 - Ben Hitchcock, 16 - Schoolboy stabbed to death in Beckenham. Attacked by a group of gatecrashers who invaded a house party.

14. June 23 - Annaka Pinto, 16 – GCSE student shot dead after trying to calm down an argument in a Tottenham pub.

15. June 26 - Martin Dinnegan, 14 - Stabbed after being attacked by a gang in Holloway.

16. June 26 - Abu Shahin, 18 - Chased by a group of men and stabbed to death in Ilford.

17. July 26 - Abukar Mahamud, 16 - Shot fatally in the neck after being executed by boys on pedal bikes in Stockwell.

18. Aug 3 - Nathan Foster, 18 - Youth worker and equestrian shot dead trying defuse a row in Brixton.

19. Aug 30 - Mohammed Ahmed, 17 - Guinea born teenager was stabbed to death in the street in Newham.

20. Sept 16 - Edvin Johnson, 19 - Student stabbed in the leg after he was attacked on a stairwell in Camberwell.

21. Oct 7 - Rizwan Darbar, 17 - A-level student stabbed in chest for his mobile phone in West Ham Park.

22. Oct 14 - Philip Poru, 18

23. Nov 14 - Etem Celebi, 17

24. Nov 17 - Biendi "Bobby" Litambola, 17

25. Nov 30 - Jack Large, 14 - Schoolboy stabbed to death in Chigwell after getting involved in a fight

26. Dec 15 - David Nowak, 16, stabbed to death following street brawl in Somerford Grove Estate, Hackney.

27. Dec 27 - Nassirudeen Osawe, 16 - stabbed to death in Upper Street, Islington.

Sal's contact info:

T: +44 (0) 7981 229 549
T: +44 (0) 207 704 8219

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