Photos of East Africa on Display during February
To accompany the Camden Conference theme “The New Africa,” Cindy Beams will exhibit color and B&W images of East Africans in the Picker Room of the Camden Public Library throughout the month of February. Beams is a documentary and fine-art photographer who has spent much of the last ten years working with education-related NGOs in the developing world. These images are drawn from her long-term involvement with Orkeeswa Secondary School, a partner of Groton School’s global education initiative. Orkeeswa School currently enrolls 225 students from under-served Maasai communities in the Monduli hills of northern Tanzania.
Cindy Beams divides her time between New York City and Camden, “where I am currently making work focused on both ends of the lifespan – childhood and aging,” she said. “A major reason for ‘retiring’ in Camden is its proximity to the Maine Media Workshops. In the summer of 2008, I casually signed up for a class in digital photography with Jan Rosenbaum. That experience has literally changed my life, personally and professionally.
“Currently I make one-of-a-kind historic-process and archival-quality digital prints,” she added. “For NGO clients and organizations, I donate all profits from the sale of my work to community-based education projects in the corresponding region.”
Africa is home to the world’s poorest nations, but also has a dozen economies that maintained 7% growth rates over the last decade. Africa is the last major frontier for resource development, while simultaneously struggling with some of the world’s oldest, most corrupt, and filthiest oil and mining ventures. While Africa suffers from ethnic and religious violence and poverty, it is blessed with rich and creative cultures and vibrant civil societies. These are only a few of the contradictions and conundrums that will frame the 2016 Camden Conference on the theme of Africa, a massive and often mysterious continent.