The Santa Monica College Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery is presenting “Journey: Images of War/Celebrations of Peace,” a tribute to the late Dan Eldon, a young artist and photojournalist who captured images of war-torn and famine-stricken Somalia.
The traveling exhibit contains not only photographs taken in Somalia, but also large reproductions of the collages Eldon created in his journals, as well as art supplies and personal belongings.
The exhibit will be held through March 21st at the SMC gallery Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. A special opening reception with Tom Shadyac, Kathy Eldon and Amy Eldon-Turteltaub is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, February 27th at the Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica.
“We wanted to do a show that not only would get students interested in the art gallery but would also activate them to become involved and to be inspired to express their activism through art,” says Art Gallery director Marian Winsryg. “I think Dan Eldon’s collage-style journals are powerful images reflecting his life in Africa that give the viewer a unique look into his creative process.”
In the summer of 1993, Eldon, who was on location covering the Somali conflict for Reuters, was asked by Somali locals to photograph destruction caused by the mistaken bombing by the United Nations of what they believed was the house of a warlord. Amid the ruins, and the frenzy that ensued, Eldon and four other journalists were stoned to death by the enraged mob. Eldon was 22 years old when he died.
His mother Kathy and sister Amy, who both reside in Los Angeles, continue to honor Eldon’s legacy and spirit through their foundation, Creative Visions Foundation, which supports creative activists like Eldon, who use media and the arts to create awareness and inspire positive change in the world. The foundation sponsors Eldon’s traveling exhibit and also provides assistance such as mentoring, networking and financial support to other creative activists.
“Dan would have loved the diversity of the SMC students, and would have been proud to think his work would be displayed in their stunning new gallery,” Kathy Eldon said.
Journey: Images of War/Celebrations of Peace has toured six countries and has been opened by more than four heads of state, including the President of Kenya and former President of Ireland and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson. Journalist Dan Rather opened the show at Columbia University and journalist Tom Brokaw spoke at Duke University when the exhibit opened there.
Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Additional information about Eldon and his work, www.creativevisions.org/, or www.daneldon.org/.