Portraits of War
About the Project
Congo/Women is a traveling photography exhibition highlighting the beauty and strength of the girls and women of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a group of girls and women who face an unprecedented wave of gender-based violence and a lack of essential medical care. This exhibit discusses the effects of such gender violence, which include pregnancy as a result of rape, obstetric and traumatic fistula, HIV infection, permanent reproductive health damage, and death. In addition to these conditions, the exhibition presents the inevitable societal stresses caused by such atrocities.
Curated from a combination of existing photography and newly-commissioned work—particularly of women and girls recovering from violence—the exhibit provides a comprehensive view of the issue and its possible solutions.Featuring the work of Lynsey Addario, Marcus Bleasdale, Ron Haviv, and James Nachtwey, the installation weaves together large portraits of Congolese women and contextual images of the region’s culture and history along with explanatory essays. When this exhibit was produced, the average lifespan of a woman in the Democratic Republic of Congo was 46 years, and in 2020 that age rose to 62 years, signaling improvement in the medical care, treatment, and safety of women in the country. However, in 2020, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo documented 1,053 cases of conflict-related sexual violence, a majority of the cases were against women and girls. Thus, this issue still deserves our attention and advocacy.
about the artists
Lynsey Addario is an award-winning American photojournalist and author.
Marcus Bleasdale is a British photojournalist based in Oslo
Ron Haviv is an American photojournalist and co-founder of the photo agency VII
James Nachtwey is an American photojournalist and war photographer.
Congo/Women is accompanied by an exhibit website with essays, resources, and motivations for the project
The Congo/Women exhibit was accompanied by an audio essay which was adapted from interviews by contributing photographer Lynsey Addario
- Performed by Cheryl Lynn Bruce
- Original music by Mario Grigorov, Pamelia Kurstin, Jaron Lanier and Sussan Deyhim
- Co-written and directed by Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Jane M. Saks and Leslie Thomas
- Translation by Nita Evele
- Sound design by Robert Marshall
- Produced by Tim Konn
- Sponsored by Another Country
Congo/Women audio essay (7 min.)
bring this exhibit to you
All of our exhibitions are designed to tour and can be adapted to a broad spectrum of venue types and sizes.
We are happy to provide step-by-step support for hosting this exhibit.
Contact us to learn more about bringing this exhibit to your community.
New York installation of Congo/Women
resources & tools
October 2022: The UN published a report that details a significant decrease in women’s access to healthcare, safety and overall well-being. The report is international, but has a focus on Africa.
The Enough Project
The Enough Project is a resource for people to get involved in advocacy and action in Congo.
Women for Women International–DRC
Women for Women International – DRC provides training for women and girls in Congo to know and defend their rights, influence decisions at home and in their communities, generate income, and save money for the future. Thus far, Women for Women International DRC has worked with over 100,000 women in the DRC.
support for this project
Congo/Women is produced in partnership with Ellen Stone Belic Institute of the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media, Columbia College Chicago.
Congo/Women is generously supported in part by: