Reaching for dawn by Elliot Verdier
Of the bloody civil war (1989-2003) that decimated Liberia, its population does not speak. No proper memorial has been built, no day is dedicated to commemoration.
The country, still held by several protagonists of the carnage, refuses to condemn its perpetrators. This deafening silence, that resonates internationally, denies any possibility of social recognition or collective memory of the massacres, condemning Liberia to an endless feeling of abandonment and drowsy resignation. The trauma carved into the population’s flesh is crystallized in the society’s weak foundations, still imbued with an unsound Americanism, and bleeds onto a new generation with an uncertain future.
The images of Elliott Verdier were made over the entire country, from the diamond mines of Gbarpolu to the fishing harbors of Harper and through the immense slum of Westpoint.
The analog photographs, made with a large format camera, offer two interweaved narratives, one in black & white and the other in color. In parallel to the photographs, recordings of men and women’s voices are added, be they victims or perpetrators, to recount their damaged fate.