Third World Ghetto

03 Sep 2008


Not So Far From Home: Light and Glass by Moses Kofi, is a photography series of experimentations and discoveries on the perception of poverty. The showing uses various methods and materials to contrast and explore photography taken on location in Trinidad depicting the dichotomy of the environment there from luxury automobiles and a state of the art shopping center, to decaying infrastructure.

Moses explains that he wanted to examine and exhibit how people here, in Canada often view the poverty and distress of people elsewhere as more interesting and more authentic than the similar poverty that exists right here around us. This involves the glamorization of poverty and ghetto life, which he uses shiny materials to convey, as well as how people choose to distance themselves from the realities of poverty, by placing more importance and urgency on social issues occurring abroad.

The exhibition also included several installation pieces using old televisions where the moving images on the screen were covered by semi-transparent stills, filtering the colors and images passing through. This was a particularly inventive and interesting commentary on the role of the media, via the medium of television, in affecting our perceptions of poverty. This also makes a bold statement on the power of controlling the medium and using the medium to promote a new message; a message of art, and perhaps a message of truth. Filtering and censoring the images on the screen forces the viewer to either surrender to the still image, or observe themselves as they struggle to see past the still to what is happening behind it, considering how the public may often look past the truth to the flashier images that seem more exciting, especially from a distance.

Moses Kofi is a self-taught photographer residing in Toronto. He is of Trinidadian lineage, and on his most recent journey there, when he look the stills, he found himself questioning his own choice to do this series on poverty there, as opposed to something a little closer to home, which evolved in to the title of the exhibition. Not So Far From Home is a refreshingly honest and unpretentious showing of a young man’s investigation of society by way of self. His disregard for the customary state of things makes his point of view quite unintentionally avant-garde, and completely unique. It feels as though Moses Kofi is sharing with the world his journey and growth as a man, as a black man, and primarily as an artist, and as a witness, it is thoroughly appreciated and feels absolutely necessary.

Find Moses Kofi at www.moseskofi.com.

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