The exhibition showcases the work of Saadia Khan, a self-taught portrait and landscape photographer, invited by MSF to visit a camp for the IDPs of FATA and Kurram agency. The photographs were taken over a period of three days at the Durrani camp, and the subjects were children, women and the elderly.
Saadia Khan has successfully translated the unspoken hardships and sufferings of the IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) into a medium that is her forte. She has masterfully captured the facial expressions of her subjects. The children, especially, seem to have been at ease with the photographer; the photographs in no way appear to be staged or artificial. Several of the images on display at the exhibition are heartbreaking – portraying a people worn out by conflict, yet still determined to hold on to their national identity.
The plight of the women in these areas has also been highlighted. Not only are women absent from most of the photos on display, but wherever they do appear, they are veiled and shying away from the camera. This behavior is in line with the traditions of the area, where women are not permitted to venture outdoors without a male relative to accompany them. Saadia Khan, through her photos, shows that there is much more to these women than just their veil. Underneath this piece of cloth, which may or may not be considered oppressive, are women with a voice, a perspective and a resilient personality.
The impact of war on the area’s infrastructure is another dominant theme of the exhibition. Khan underlines the absence of basic health services in the region and the impact of war on these scarce facilities by capturing an image of a bullet-ridden maternity ward.
An MSF representative said that the medical needs of the people in the region surpass the facilities available to them. Despite the dangers posed by the current situation in the region, MSF is committed to providing free medical aid to those who need it, regardless of class, gender, race or nationality.
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