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Exhibition by renowned war photographer comes to DMU


An emotive exhibition of 100 images of refugees and asylum seekers around the world has opened at The Gallery at DMU as part of the Journeys Festival International, a two week arts festival which starts in Leicester today.

'I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See' showcases the work of award-winning photographer Giles Duley who lost two legs and an arm in a landmine explosion after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in 2011. The photographer - who told his story in a TED talk that has been watched more than 200,000 times - continued his work, producing these stunning black-and-white portraits that are stark and unforgettable, but offer hope and a celebration of the ability of the human spirit to endure.


The exhibition opened today at The Gallery DMU and the artist himself will be giving a talk about his work and how his experiences have fed into his foundation, Legacy of War, as well as a five-year photographic project of the same name at DMU at 5.30pm on Thursday 22 August which is open to the public. You can book your place here.

Journeys Festival International is a 15-day festival, produced by ArtReach, which will explore the diversity of the refugee experience. From European street theatre to live music from Zambia, USA, Zimbabwe and Mozambique with exhibitions by artists from France, Greece, Italy and Iran. Plus, installations, outdoor galleries and creative arts workshops from a range of UK artists working in asylum seeking communities. It will be based around a giant dome erected in Jubilee Square which will host performances by bands like British Sea Power and live stand-up comedy by the likes of Lloyd Griffith.

Sunita Patel, Senior Public Engagement Officer at De Montfort University said: “The opportunity to host Giles Duley’s work was a chance not to be missed. The exhibition is, in itself, incredibly touching and offers a rare insight into the lives of those affected by the migration crisis. Then taking into account Giles’ personal journey and experiences, it makes this work even more relevant and more poignant than ever. Working in partnership with the Festival allows the university to bring important art to a wider audience in Leicester and we’re looking forward to hosting the exhibition.”


Since October 2015, the UK photographer has documented the experiences of refugees for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) after already spotlighting the families affected in his work for years.

The photographer shares their stories with his characteristic empathy after criss-crossing Europe and the Middle East to visit 14 countries to capture the extent of the crisis. In a seven-month project, from Lebanon and Lesvos to the camps of Jordan and Iraq, he has put together more than 100 original photographs, complemented thoughtfully by texts from Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the artist and musician, Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack.

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Duley told the New York Times: “It (loss of three limbs) is going to give me greater insight and empathy into people's suffering and hopefully put me in a better position to tell their stories. Because that's all I am, a storyteller.”

Duley has been recognised with the Kodak Humanitarian Award 2019 and the Amnesty International Media Award 2019 – Photojournalism. In addition to taking the chance to see the work of an award-winning photographer, an artist talk with Duley on Thursday 22 August, 5.30pm.

Giles Duley’s exhibition, ‘I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See’ runs from 16 August until 30 August 2019, 12pm to 5pm (closed on Sundays) at The Gallery, DMU.

This year’s festival will bring artists from over 15 different countries to Leicester to explore a diverse range of arts events, exhibitions, concerts and family-friendly workshops for people to enjoy.

The annual event will feature a free outdoor concert by world-class musicians and bands. People will also be able to enjoy global cuisine, roaming street theatre performances and more.

Posted on Friday 16th August 2019

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