California born, Nairobi based artist, Alissa Everett has visited over 130 countries and since 2003 has been covering and photographing conflict and ethnic issues that still remain today in places such as Iraq, Darfur, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Most recently Alissa travelled to the Ukrainian border with The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to document the humanitarian response efforts. Here Everett tells Candice Tucker about her work and her latest solo exhibition, Covering Beauty
Open to view at the Venice Biennale until 27 November 2022 is Everett’s solo exhibition Covering Beauty, part of the sixth edition of Personal Structures at the European Cultural Centre (“ECC”) for the 59th Venice Biennale. The aim of the exhibition is for people to see the beauty within these places of conflict that Everett has visited, which are normally only associated with destruction and sadness.
“I would describe myself as a documentary photographer rather than conflict photographer. What speaks to me the most are moments of unexpected beauty that happen in our daily lives, in both conflict and non-conflict zones. The depiction of areas which are labelled by conflict are often skewed by the negative, and people rarely get the chance to see the moments of beauty which exist.
The images in Covering Beauty on until November span my entire career, from the war in Iraq and up to the latest conflict area I’ve been working in – Ukraine – with the International Organisation for Migration. I felt it was important to include these in order to demonstrate to audiences that circumstances like these can happen world over.
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They happen in continents that are labelled as conflict areas like Africa, the Middle East and Latin America but they also happen in those not labelled – in Europe. These areas are not ‘other’. We too easily forget that we all have a common history, conflict can arise anywhere in the world.
The purpose of Exposing Hope is to raise funds and direct them to very specific projects that directly assist people I have been working for, rather than operating as a large-scale NGO. We collaborate with grassroots organisations who we find on the ground whilst working, those who rarely have international named support, fundraising arms, or much visibility.
Read more: The Futures: A Token Of Goodwill
On 21st June Alissa Everett will be speaking at the Frontline Club in London about ‘Covering Beauty’. To book tickets follow the link here: frontlineclub.com/covering-beauty-with-alissa-everett