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Oct 9, 2008

Project Poverty exhibition opens tonight at Mexican Ins.

Story PicturePoverty is the deprivation of common necessities that determine the quality of life and statistics show that there has been an increase in the level of poverty in the jewel. In fact, thirty-three percent of Belizeans are victims of poverty. This is the message that Photographer Richard Holder captured through his lens in an assignment with the Lifeline Foundation. Duane Moody takes a look at Holder’s exhibition that is opening tonight at the Mexican Institute.

Duane Moody, Reporting
If you take a stroll around the City, chances are that in many areas you will see signs of poverty: dilapidated housing, swampy grounds and hungry children who are less than healthy. The Lifeline Foundation, a non-profit organization, has been working with needy institutions rendering any form of assistance they can to uplift conditions and provide relief to as many persons as possible.

Denise Courtenay, Director, Lifeline Foundation
“Lifeline foundation raises fund to help children in need. This can be physical; they may have physical needs, educational, medical needs and so we raise funds in order to assist various people who have projects that help children. Now tonight, what this exhibition is intended to do is really to focus on the plight of children living in poverty. As you know many of our children live in very, very terrible conditions. At the same time, the exhibition is not intended to be depressing because I’ve heard some people say that sounds like a depressing topic.”

Poverty and its causes are so prevalent that some people do not recognize it and others ignore it. Sex, however, grabs one’s attention almost instantaneously. And that is how Project Poverty came about.

Richard Holder, Photographer and Creator of Project Poverty
“Project Poverty is basically spotlighting poverty that exists in Belize City first of all cause this is where I live and this is where I see a lot of poverty. Poverty is something that people usually ignore or become numb to when they live here. The concept behind this exhibition is to use the marketing element of women to create attention—sex to create attention—in order to almost trick the person into looking at these actual children who are in poverty. So the women are almost promoting poverty, but in a very commercial and a very contrasting way to the actual content of the show which is what I want you to see. A lot of people will see these women dressed in garbage and be lured into coming here.”

Holder is one of the most successful artistic photographers in Belize and in 2003 he shocked the touristic image of Belize sun and beach with his ‘WE Exhibition’ which displayed portraits of pimps, beggars, homeless and much more. In this latest project he expresses his passionate sentiments about the widespread poverty crisis.

Richard Holder
“With poverty that’s the whole point. It’s that there are a lot of people out there who need help and help has to come from more than just Lifeline; it has to come from everybody. I mean this is a discussion that can go on and we can have a forum about it. But what am I doing about this; I promised these people that I would help them. These are all for sale. I am just gonna cover my cost of printing. I want to give to them.”

Denise Courtenay
“When you see the pictures, what comes out is the beauty of these children. When you look at their eyes, well you know how children are, they can live and they can be happy in the most terrible circumstances. So while we want to focus on the plight that they are living in, at the same time what we want to do is to try and show that there is some hope and we hope to be able to help them from the proceeds of the opening and the exhibition.”

Duane Moody reporting for News Five.

The proceeds will come from a cash bar at tonight’s opening and from the sale of the photographs. Most of the funds generated will be given to the children photographed and other underprivileged families.

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