'Nothing is Enough' fuses art forms, portrays Kibeho Massacre

George Gittoes' exhibit at Light Work features photos mixed with painting and drawing to create a subtle yet intense atmosphere.

Photography can have a strong impact, and photos merged with other forms of art create a distinctive intensity.

George Gittoes and his Nothing is Enough exhibit for Light Work, which will be on display in the Robert B. Menschel Gallery in the Schine Student Center through Dec. 20, portrays the 1995 Kibeho Massacre in Rwanda. Though the bloody incident occurred nearly 20 years ago, Gittoes’ work makes the holocaust timeless.

Unlike conventional photojournalism, Gittoes takes his audience through the story with a series of 10 images that are not simply photos. He fuses writing, drawing and painting into his works, giving his pieces a collage-like feature.

"Rubber Bands" is one of the gripping images in this series. If the photo of the little boy’s face isn't gut-wrenching enough, the scribbling on both sides of the picture will twists hearts. Children were among those who were slaughtered in the massacre. Many of them would use their arms to evade the blows and in return lose their hands. Rubber bands were the only things the protagonist could use to try stop the bleeding.

Gittoes doesn’t merely display a grisly photo of a child in "Rubber Bands," but transforms the picture into a rather poetic visual. Blood and carcasses are replaced by soft crimson brush strokes, and wounds are hidden beneath drawn lines. The violence is portrayed subtly, but it is still exceptionally overwhelming.

The same technique is applied throughout the exhibit. Each frame has snippets of photographs with the brutality camouflaged by painting or drawing. While Gittoes uses earthy browns and dark crimson in some parts of his pieces, they are mainly black and white. Illustrations of skeletons, corpses and barbed wire also appear in most pictures, such as "Congregation," "Art" and "Cleaners." Silent agony builds up with the piles of drawn bodies scattered over the paper, and the people’s vulnerability peels off the images.

Nothing is Enough quietly revisits the cruelty of the Kibeho massacre. It fills the small exhibit room with piercing sorrow and pain, building lumps in throats with simply 10 images.

Photo by Olivia Yang

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