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Young Eyes

A photographic journey around the world

Property Donor: The GPT Group

Launched: 30 Mar 2010

Closed: 19 Apr 2010

about Young Eyes

Conor Ashleigh is a 22 year old photographic story teller, who covers issues with an environmental, social and political focus.

Conor will be installing a temporary exhibition of photographic works based on his documentary work around the world. Conor describes the work as highlighting “our diversity while also drawing back to the fundamental essence of humanity that is the same everywhere.”

The exhibition runs from 7-18 April 2010.

The space will also provide a working studio space for Conor as he is working on a multimedia project, with daily project updates screening on the walls.

Conor is also looking to run Newcastle’s first photo festival planned for the second half of 2010, with opportunities for young photographers to take part. Come into the shop to meet Conor if you are interested in this.

The journey behind the exhibition demonstrates the stamina, commitment and focus of this young artist:

“In December 2009 I received a small grant from The Loft as part of the Dave Arkless Encouragement Program which provided financial support for me to travel to the MiddleEast and to the Indian sub-continent to work on photo projects central to my theme of diversity through the lives of youth.

On December 26th 2009 I embarked on a journey where I spent time in Egypt, Gaza, India and Nepal using the medium of still images in addition to audio recordings to document young people in their local communities. Each individual story adds to a larger body of work that highlights the diversity of culture and standards of living across the world. My exhibition is a collection of four stories of young people, while the multimedia piece will include a more comprehensive coverage of these stories in addition to other stories from my travels.”

The four main stories are:

After the war in Gaza – One year on and the remnants of war can still be seen and felt throughout the Gaza Strip. Violence and war is commonplace for those who have grownup in the Palestinian Territories under Israeli occupation and my work looks more closely at the lives of youth in Gaza.

Boys in the brick kilns – The Bhaktapur valley of Nepal once part of the Marwati Kingdom is now filled with smoking chimneys from the ever growing brick kiln industry. The development boom in Kathmandu has led to a sharp increase in brick production and therefore an even greater need for labour. In 2008 I spent two weeks documenting child labourers who work in the brick kilns, this story was nominated as a finalist as part of UNICEF’s 2009 photo of the year competition on the rights of a child. Coverage of the child labourers is extremely important so in 2010 I returned for another three weeks of documenting in the brick kilns.

Chris and Lucy – Chris and Lucy are a young local couple in Newcastle who are 21 and 17 respectively and became parents in October last year, my story highlights the daily challenges they face as young parents.

Slipping beneath the cracks – Fairooshi is just 13 years old, she can speak five languages and hopes one day to be a linguist, she lives under an overpass in Calcutta in India with her younger sister and mother. Fairooshi acts as a caregiver providing daily medication for her mother who suffers from psychosis and schizophrenia, when taking the medication her mother is able to work which in turn means the girls are able to eat daily.

This exhibition was made possible by support from Livesites and The Loft .

Profile photograph of Conor in the field by Jessie Boylan.

Opening Hours Tuesdays 10-5 Wednesdays 10-5 Thursdays 10-4 Fridays 10-4 Saturdays 10-1 (except 10th – open til 9pm)

Exhibition Closing Party Sun 18th April 10-4