Portraits of Resilience features images of survivors of torture from around the world who fled their home countries seeking safety, recovery, and political asylum. The ongoing photo series by British photographer Jonathan Banks is presented in collaboration with the survivors and Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC).
Portraits of Resilience incorporates voices from countries such as the Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Pakistan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Most participating survivors were tortured by repressive governments for “reasons” varying from joining oppositional political parties to being persecuted for their religion or sexual orientation. Banks began the photo project in 2018 to educate the public about the practice of torture and allow survivors to share their stories in an exploratory and creative fashion—with the ethos that survivors are the strongest and most effective voice in the campaign to abolish torture. To center the voices of the survivors, Banks asks the survivors to select a photograph of significance to them to be projected onto them for their portrait. Whether a serene landscape or a vibrant street scene, the projected images show familiar places lost to the individuals. The series poses questions about place, home, and humanity amidst the growing global refugee crisis.
Portraits of Resilience Panel Discussion
About the Photographer
Jonathan Banks is an award-winning British photographer with over 25 years of experience collaborating with charitable organizations and NGOs documenting important humanitarian campaigns and human rights concerns. Banks has photographed in over 80 different countries, documenting subjects as diverse as mask dancing festivals in Burkina Faso, the effects of the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine, and the aftermath of 9/11 in New York. Banks’ photography regularly features in international editorial publications and is the visual content of several books. His photographs have been widely recognized by numerous awards and he has exhibited his photography globally including notable shows at the European Parliament, on the Times Square screens in New York, as part of the Exposure Awards at the Louvre in Paris and at the “Beauty of Humanity” Art Basel festival in Miami.
TASSC takes an integrated and survivor-centered approach to its work with survivors of torture. All of our staff work with survivors through a trauma-informed and strength-based perspective, focusing on resilience and each survivor’s own strengths as they move toward a brighter future. We work with, not for survivors as they move toward achieving their goals. Our interdisciplinary model also allows for coordination of care that addresses all aspects of a survivor’s wellbeing – from community and social connection, to legal, psychological, and medical support. TASSC addresses the wide range of each survivor’s physical and emotional needs and offers support at each step as they find the care and strength they need to recover.
This exhibition is organized by The Phillips Collection in partnership with TASSC.
Made possible by generous support from the Judy and Peter Blum Kovler Foundation.
For thirty-five years, the Judy and Peter Blum Kovler Foundation has been underwriting torture prevention efforts as well as medical treatment for survivors of torture with initiatives like Chicago’s Marjorie Kovler Center for Survivors and the American University Law School Kovler Project Against Torture.
IMAGE: Jonathan Banks, Roopbaan, Bangladesh, 2018, Photograph, 31 ¾ x 44 in., Courtesy of the artist