Exhibit displays womens' struggle with hunger - Philadelphia News

December 10, 2008 3:35:43 PM PST
29-year-old Imani Sullivan took 106 photographs chronicling her experience of hunger. The working single mother of 9 and 2-year-old sons shot the images for an exhibit called Witnesses to Hunger.

"I wasn't going to do it because I was embarrassed. I didn't want anybody to know my story. I didn't want anybody to know I'm on welfare, I work, and struggle to take care of my kids. How am I going to get help if nobody knows that I need it?" Sullivan said.

Sullivan is one of 42 women, anthropologist and epidemiologist Mariana Chilton asked to take pictures witnessing hunger. The women struggle with issues of hunger themselves. Imani who once dreamed for working in the medical field, works five nights a week cleaning office buildings and still needs public assistance to make ends meet.

"Everyday is a struggle. Every single day. Everyday is a struggle. Like I get paid tomorrow. I don't know if my check is going to be the right amount. If I'll have enough to pay gas, water, electric, and rent this month," Sullivan said.

Each woman was given a digital camera and asked to speak their truths through photographs.

They captured everything from scars of domestic abuse to video of a man bathing in a fire hydrant.

"I felt like through photography it's a way to get beyond words. It's a way to go straight to gut," Chilton said.

The week long exhibit opens Thursday. Organizers hope people who view it will see what the witnesses who shot it feel that is hunger is unacceptable.

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