Sometimes fate conspires to take us in a direction that we least expect.
Fate intervened as I was muddling through a mini life-review following a family death. While struggling to come to terms with the lingering dilemma of life’s purpose, I eagerly accepted a documentary assignment with a Kenyan-based development NGO, Power of Hope Kibera (POHK.org). I worked there in July/August, 2013 and January/February, 2014.
Kibera was the destination. Kibera – a division of the Nairobi Area and neighborhood of the city of Nairobi – is the largest urban slum in Africa.
Conditions there were unlike any I had seen –no running water, complete lack of sanitation, metal/dirt shanties, appalling poverty. But these conditions could not stop the soul of this community. Their gifts of spirit and joy and simplicity of purpose were evident everywhere.
Spirit and the unrelenting giving of the people of Kibera is the essence of this documentary.
Photography is about my connection with basic human instincts, the instinct to create through some expression. Rather than to simply document the realism that shows up at the other end of the camera lens, I reach deep within my psyche, feeling the blood pulsing through my body, listen to my heart beat. With acute senses and a knowledge of the craft, I strive to convey connections between my being and the collective, creative unconscious.
I was born in the 50s and grew up around the world, having finally settled in Colorado. This experience has shaped who I am and how I see the world as an artist and photographer. I'm always seeking the unifying qualities of humankind. My latest documentary work, Kibera: A Slice of Heaven, is an example of this work as it celebrates the humanness of even the world's poorest and most underserved population.
Please refer to my website for education and exhibition background: maureenruddyburkhart.com
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