Features Photographer and Filmmaker Tim Hetherington
June 12, 2009
Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold explores the dynamics of power, international complicity, and the search for justice in recent Liberian history.

(New York) - Human Rights Watch today launches a new photographic exhibit, Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold. The show, featuring the work of award-winning journalist Tim Hetherington, opens on June 12, 2009, at Lincoln Center's Furman Gallery. 

Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold explores the dynamics of power, international complicity, and the search for justice in recent Liberian history. Liberia's last three presidents have each faced a dramatic end - William Tolbert was disemboweled during a coup d'état, Samuel Doe was filmed being tortured to death, and Charles Taylor is standing trial for war crimes in The Hague. The exhibit tracks both the terrible years of war and corruption and the more hopeful present, as Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has taken charge of the country as Africa's first elected female head of state.

Bringing to life an extraordinary range of characters - from warlords to presidents, environmental activists to traditional hunters, political hustlers to democratic visionaries - Tim Hetherington examines the forces behind Liberia's past and present. From the raw power wielded by the young men of rebel groups to the corruption of the transitional government to the possibilities of a democratically elected president, his work brings names and faces to news headlines, and in doing so demonstrates that what happened in Liberia was not the product of random chaos, but rather calculated policies that harmed basic human rights for Liberia's people.

The images are excerpted from Hetherington's recently published book of the same title, entwining documentary photography, oral testimony, and personal writing.

Award-winning photographer and filmmaker Hetherington spent eight years living and working in West Africa, four of which focused on Liberia. In the 2003 civil war, he and broadcast colleague James Brabazon were the only journalists to live behind rebel lines, which earned them an execution order from then-President Charles Taylor. Hetherington stayed on after the war, living in downtown Monrovia and recording the daily life of a country moving on. In 2006, he took a break from image-making to work as an investigator for the United Nations Security Council's Liberia Sanctions Committee. Known for his documentary work, he is the recipient of an Alfred I. DuPont - Columbia University award, a UK NESTA National Endowment Fellowship, and four World Press Photo prizes, including the 2007 World Press Photo of the Year. He currently lives in New York and covers the globe as a contributing photographer for Vanity Fair.

Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold

   Furman Gallery, Walter Reade Theater
   Film Society of Lincoln Center
   165 West 65th Street, Mezzanine level
   New York

   June 12 through June 25
   Open 2 p.m. - 8 p.m. daily