Working as a researcher for Human Rights Watch, Samer Muscati has documented the aftermath of some of humanity’s darkest acts. His special area of concentration is international women’s rights, with a particular emphasis on Africa and the Middle East. Gathering the testimony of his subjects is often harrowing, and Muscati has found photography invaluable in processing his experience. He often shares the photographs with the women he is interviewing, finding that the medium serves as a kind of bonding agent. “It calms people down, and they become part of the process,” says Muscati. “They find they have a different sense of ownership over what we are doing together.” Often his subjects are wary of participating for fear of reprisal, as was strikingly the case in his recent research in northern BC, where he investigated violence against indigenous women and girls, and their betrayal by the criminal justice system. “It was tragic to be looking at this issue in Canada,” he says. “What I didn’t anticipate was the level of fear.” This exhibition pulls together the highs and lows Muscati has borne witness to, offering a moving account of the shifting fates of women and girls in a period of profound global transition.
Organized by Sarah Milroy in collaboration with Caroline Macfarlane, Vanessa Nicholas, and Jane Hutchison.