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Africa Within: A Journey to the South East

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

AN EXHIBITION entitled Africa Within: A Journey to the South East will be on display at the Arndean Gallery from Monday, September 22 to Saturday, September 27, 2008.

There will be a total of 29 images on display, all taken during Ambra Paterno’ Castello’s photographic expedition to Madagascar and Mozambique. A large percentage from the proceeds of the sales, plus donations during this exhibiton within the gallery, will go to the Children of Uganda charity, which was chosen by Ambra following her latest expedition in Uganda.

Ambra, who was born and raised in Sicily, has travelled extensively around East Africa during the past three years, and has focused her work on local culture and people. Her portraits capture the decisive moment and expression of a face, a gesture, a smile, whose simplicity and spontaneity can tell more than a thousand words, a fascinating and never ending story. Ambra’s photos are emotions, instants on paper, unique and fragile but powerful moments of expression. Working in both colour and black and white, her style is modern and distinctive yet boasting a timeless, classical edge.

Ambra lives in London and this is her first solo exhibition.

Facts about the children in Uganda

Significant investments in children and women in recent years have led to developmental successes in Uganda, notably in primary education and in the fight against HIV/AIDS. However, in the north, nearly two decades of conflict between the Government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have spurred a severe humanitarian crisis marked by widespread insecurity and massive displacement.

Uganda has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the involvement of children in armed conflict. A Children’s Act, based on the CRC, was passed in 1996.

Issues facing children in Uganda

Malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhoea are the main causes of under 5 mortality.

HIV infects approximately 20,000 babies annually through mother to child transmission.

Nearly half of the estimated 2 million orphans are orphaned due to AIDS, with the total expected to rise to 3.5 million by 2010.

Net primary school attendance has risen to 87 percent.

Children and women comprise 80 percent of the 1.4 million people forced to flee their homes due to conflict. They live in more than 200 camps, with limited services.

The LRA has abducted more than 25,000 children since 1986.

In the conflict affected districts, around 40,000 unaccompanied children – the ‘night commuters’ – walk every night from their homes in outlying villages to urban centres, in search of protection from the threat of LRA abductions and attacks.

In addition to the Children of Uganda charity support throughout the exhibition, Fine Art Promotions who are the curators of the exhibiton will be taking part in the Macmillan Charity’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on Friday, September 26. Everyone is welcome for a coffee, cake and free viewing, in return for a gestured donation to the charity.

The Arndean Gallery, 23 Cork Street, Mayfair, London.