Workshop with Illustrators and Eyewitnesses

Five-day-workshop at the Comic Salon Erlangen 2012 with intiators, illustrators and eyewitnesses

Under the label “The Charles Taylor Wars,” Wolf Böwig (initiator, photo), Pedro Rosa Mendes (text), Christoph Ermisch (initiator, graphics, animation) and an international lineup of top illustrators and artists created a crossover version of the reports, merging photography, illustration and written word. Through the collaboration of photographer, artists, author, graphic artis as well as eyewitnesses, Black.Light Project creates the fragments for 15 different stories during a workshop at the Comic Salon in Erlangen 2012

The Black.Light Project does not attempt to lighten the dark. The legacy of Charles Taylor will reverberate for generations with such complex layering and scaffolding that it is impossible to quantify. This book and exhibition do not quarantine one aspect of this multi-nation echoing. Black.Light acknowledges the scope of dimension that pain, loss, survival, and hope encompass by exploring it all in a braid of words, photographs, and illustration. And while the creative mediums of expression differ, the voice does not. It is one of compassion and coalescing anger.

Media tends to move on to the most current of current events, and the world’s eyes follow. But for those afflicted by the ensuing post-Taylor wars and deaths, the return to normalcy, to daily life of peace and ease, to moving past is far, far from over, and the stories that inhabit their hours of waking and dreams of sleeping need to be retold–out of respect for those living in the aftermath, and as a reminder to all the rest of us that this extreme swing of the pendulum is a component of humanity, as well. Collectively we share a planet and we witness. The counterbalance of terror is acknowledgement, and from there the first tendril of light can break into a day. And the telling and listening to these stories is the only beacon, the only way to some kind of forward.

A book is held in the hands. And short of clasping hands with another, it is one of the most powerful ways to hold a story. The manuscript, the photographs, the illustrations do not necessarily explain or eulogize. They do combine as languages of the visual, literary, and aesthetic to chorus against silence, against forgetting, casting a rope to faith in humanity, in memory, in consciousness, to faith in what’s left.

by Kirsten Rian