Friday, December 17, 2010

Liberia '77

Liberia '77 - 60 sec from liberia '77 on Vimeo.

Liberia '77 is a documentary project by two Canadian brothers, Jeff and Andrew Topham, who grew up in Liberia in the 1970s, and who returned recently, making a film of the story.

This beautiful project is just the sort of work that I geek out on. I was so excited when I happened to discover the site recently, that I have to admit I was almost upset that I hadn't known about it before. I haven't even had a chance to see the documentary yet.

The Liberia '77 website also has a gallery of vintage and contemporary photography, and this is where its really engaging. Some of the older photographs are just arresting-- especially the black-and-white snapshot of two girls running across a smoothly-paved Broad Street, thirty-three years ago (notice that the building on the corner was called the Palm Hotel even back then! KLM sign is also recognizable behind the parked car).

Equally intriguing but far more devastating is the juxtaposition of the family house: on the left, a manicured tropical bungalow, on the right, an overgrown archaeological shell. Same structure, decades apart. It makes me wonder what so many other bombed-out ruins around Monrovia looked like in their prime.

Also, elsewhere on the site, note the Ellen-backed drive to assemble a national photo archive and one of the brothers talking about the regrettable state of the National Museum. So right! Would love to be a part of this, and I hope a lot of others within the Diaspora and among the ex-pat community would be able to assist. There are a lot of other people out there who are not only taking beautiful pictures now, and who care about Liberia's history.

A Request from the President from liberia '77 on Vimeo.

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