FACE TO FACE
Red Cross, Oxo Tower Gallery, London
STAR RATING 5/5
What made this exhibition special was that young people took the
photographs and also supplied the annotation. Co-ordinated by
photojournalist Ruth Robinson, a number of English Red Cross
projects were featured, including a special needs project in
Reading, a peer support scheme in Birmingham and a refugee
befriending service in Kent, writes Mark Drinkwater.
But it was the Northern Ireland cross-border project that provided
the most potent imagery: paramilitary murals, political billboards,
burned-out houses and military watchtowers featured in some of the
more unsettling photographs on display.
From the notes we learned that a picture taken on the notorious,
mainly working class and exclusively Protestant Shankill Road in
predominantly Catholic West Belfast was photographed at a distance,
and from inside
Other photographs provided more hope – including Fiona’s picture of
her auntie who was prepared to move on from the murder of her
husband, and Christopher’s “My Friends” who were smiling in their
Ireland football shirts.
This exhibition was a powerful way of highlighting the diverse work
of the Red Cross from the perspective of service users.
Mark Drinkwater is a community worker in Southwark, south