Anatomy of Forgiveness

Fainah and Camille

Justice has been served. 20 years after the genocide in Rwanda, perpetrators and their victims once again live side by side. I wanted to give them a podium, to tell their story and not impose any of my preconceived ideas onto them. As a documentary maker I surrendered my subjectivity to the subject. I wanted them to have their moment.

I asked the couples how did the moment of forgiveness look like, and if they were comfortable with recreating it for me. I tried to be as careful and gentle as possible and sometimes I had to wince when asking. But in no way shape or form did I direct their behavior. The survivor and the perpetrator side by side, embracing, shaking hands, touching cheek with cheek, drinking banana beer. Falling to their knees. After each captured moment I shook their hands and looked in their eyes. I never shook hands with murderers before. On makeshift scales I ask the survivors to show me how much they forgave and the perpetrators how much did they forgive themselves. I photograph the proximity of their houses. I can’t believe that in some cases death was separated by only 68 steps.

But forgiveness in this context is not always a fluffy, pink positive thing as it
Hahnemuhle print frame in wooden frame

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Van elk werk, dat via de Kunstambassade verkocht wordt, schenkt de kunstenaar 20% van het verkoopbedrag aan het Solidariteitsfonds dat wordt verdeeld onder de deelnemende kunstenaars.

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