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15 June 2012 - 02 June 2013
Until 2 June. Free.
Oil Boom, Delta Burns: photographs by George Osodi is a photographic exhibition looking at the impact of the oil industry on the lives of people in Niger Delta.
The Nigerian born photo-journalist George Osodi, 37, witnessed first-hand the exploitation of one of Africa’s largest deltas by multi-national companies. People who live in the oil rich state have had to live with environmental catastrophes for decades. Since the 1950s oil spill after oil spill in this part of Nigeria have left areas polluted and seen traditional livelihoods destroyed. Severe economic deprivation within communities stands in sharp contrast to the enormous oil wealth of the area.
George Osodi photographed people living in the Niger Delta from 2003 to 2007 to highlight the brutal conditions they were living in. This free exhibition of 10 large-scale images is accompanied by a continual slideshow of 200 photographs. Graphic images show people badly burned by gas flares or families living against a backdrop of destroyed houses.
George Osodi said: “Most people tend to take oil and petrol for granted. Few people ever question where it comes from and what impact it has on people and communities. Nigeria is the sixth largest oil supplier in the world which generates immense wealth for the oil companies and the government, but 70% of the population live on less than one dollar a day. My photographs document daily life in Niger Delta, its people and the conditions in which they live. They put a human cost on a paradise lost.
"I want to show the duality of life in the region: children playing football in a field with gas flaring in the background, women fishing in polluted waters. It is amazing how people carry on with their daily routines with a smile against all the odds.”
Dr Richard Benjamin, Head of International Slavery Museum said: “We are pleased to exhibit George Osodi’s thought provoking images. The story of the Niger Delta and its relationship with oil is one of environmental destruction, injustice and activism. These images of the many difficulties of everyday life in the region are in sharp contrast to the enormous oil wealth which the land has generated. “In Britain we might associate oil with high fuel prices or potential strikes but less with catastrophic environment damage in the pursuit of profit and the activism which challenges that. I believe these powerful images on display will change this."
The International Slavery Museum is situated on the third floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum at Albert Dock, Liverpool. It is free entry.
For more information about this exhibition visit www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/ism/exhibitions/osodi/
LAND POLLUTION 2004 - A local youth scoops crude oil from the ground as he assesses the damage done to farmland by the oil spill in Rukpokwu near the oil-rich city of Port Harcourt. Photo by George Osodi.
UTOROGUN GAS FLARE NEAR WARRI, 2006 - Ayoung girl tries to cover her sister from the heat, while their mother dries tapioca. Gas flares allow tapioca to dry in a matter of hours after which it is then ready to be sold at market. However, the flares emit poisonous fumes which local people inhale, unaware of and impotent against the risk. Photo by George Osodi.