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A boy washes his clothes in a river near Maboussou village, in Central African Republic.William Daniels—Panos
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A boy washes his clothes in a river near Maboussou village, in Central African Republic.
William Daniels—Panos
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Bringing Central African Republic's Story to the World

Apr 06, 2016

In November of 2013, as Central African Republic descended into sectarian violence following months of political instability, French photographer William Daniels, on assignment for TIME, “passed through funerals, refugee camps and bands of men with guns.” His pictures showed a country in chaos, as hundreds of people were killed in just a few days, forcing France and other African nations to commit troops to restore law and order.

In the 28 months that followed, Daniels returned to Central African Republic 10 times. There, he has captured the slow process towards a May 2015 peace agreement, the Pope’s visit last November and the aftermath of its presidential elections in February. Work from his most recent trip is presented here.

Now, Daniels is bringing all of this work together for the first time in a New York City exhibition opening on April 8.

“I’ve shown parts of it before, but I’ve never showed all of it,” he tells TIME. “And I wanted to do it in New York because that’s where the United Nations is and because, outside of TIME, Al-Jazeera America, Foreign Policy and the Washington Post, the U.S. never really paid attention to what happened there.”

Daniels partnered with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) for the show, with the goal of shoring up awareness that the humanitarian situation in Central African Republic remains dire. For Phil Zabriskie, MSF’s editorial director for the U.S., the lack of news coverage of the ongoing crisis could be due to the country’s hyper-literal name or “its location next to larger and better-known neighbors,” he says. It is only with a visit by a figure like the Pope or Samantha Power, he notes, that CAR is able to break into the headlines.

“We felt that staging an exhibition of his work on CAR very much fit with our avowed commitment to bear witness to the events and dynamics our staff see on the ground,” Zabriskie adds. “It gives us a chance to talk about CAR and both amplify the content and—one hopes—the impact of William’s work and our own.”

Central African Republic: Uncertain Tomorrow runs from April 8-30 at 60 Water Street in Brooklyn. A webcast with Daniels and award-winning novelist Dinaw Mengestu will be held on April 6. An artist reception is open to the public on April 7 from 6pm.

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