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Seven Years, Six Months for Khadija Ismayilova or The Shame of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev

Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative journalist and presenter on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Azeri-language internet-only station Azadliq Radiosu, is seen during a live broadcast at Azadliq Radiosu's studio in Baku, Azerbaijan on October 31, 2011.

Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative journalist and presenter on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Azeri-language internet-only station Azadliq Radiosu, is seen during a live broadcast at Azadliq Radiosu’s studio in Baku, Azerbaijan on October 31, 2011.

This is Khadija Ismayiova, a PEN Freedom to Write, International Women’s Media Fund Courage in Journalism award-winning Azerbaijani investigative journalist. Today she was sentenced to seven years and six months in jail in Azerbaijan for the crime of committing really, really good journalism by investigating and reporting accurately and truthfully on the shady business dealings of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his family. Unless of course you believe she is guilty of her actual charge, inciting an ex-boyfriend who was compromised by Azerbaijani “Security Services” to suicide – a charge he has since recanted. Oh and p.s. he remains alive to have made the accusation.

The Aliyevs’ interests touch every aspect of the economy, from oil to gold mines to telecoms to aviation to luxury hotels to presumably so much more. We know this because of Khadija’s efforts. Today, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project revealed the Aliyevs interest in yachts allegedly owned by the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic or SOCAR. Wife Mehriban’s biggest problem seems to be that the yachts are too small (and perhaps the champagne has gone flat too? Quel tragèdie!). A group of more than 100 investigative journalists from around the world is committed to continuing Khadija’s important work and Khadija herself has continued to publish letters and investigations from behind bars, meaning her courage and bravery are truly exemplary in the face of tremendous adversity.

So to each of the Aliyevs, President Ilham Aliyev, wife and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, daughters Leyla Aliyeva and Arzu Aliyeva and son Heydar Aliyev, Jr., I wish you well on your future dealings as they have been handled so ineptly until now. I mention the children only because so much of the Aliyevs ill-gotten wealth appears to be stashed off shore in their names and because Leyla fancies herself a renaissance woman of a painter, magazine editor, foundation/NGO leader of the sort that only the children of the most corrupt leaders are allowed. The example shown by Khadija of moral courage in the face of profound corruption and absurdity is a light to all who face adversity of circumstances, and not just in journalism. There are certainly more of us than there are of you, folks who got no bigger issues than yachts that are too small and too much fancy real estate in London, Moscow, Dubai, etc. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Time will reveal to Ilham, Mehriban and the kids Leyla, Arzu and little Heydar that this is a mistake on par with the jailing of Václav Havel in the Czech Republic or Adam Michnik in Poland. You might own everything in the present, but the future is far from certain. And like Havel and Michnik, you will never own Khadija’s soul, spirit and those of her many admirers. Your wealth is ephemeral; their examples and that of Khadija are eternal.

Sustenance: Chicago and the Food Chain in Milan, Italy

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August 27 – September 20
Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci

ART WORKS Projects, in collaboration with the U.S. Consulate General in Milan, is pleased to present an Italian tour of the exhibit Sustenance: Chicago and the Food Chain, documenting the realities of food access in Chicago through the eyes of local children at home, in school, and in their communities. Bringing this important story to international audiences, this exhibit with photography by Amanda Rivkin explains Chicago’s place within global agricultural practices and policies, and highlights the city’s many innovative programs working to enhance children’s relationships with nutrition and healthy food. A supplemental feature of photographs from Marwen students adds young Chicagoans’ perspectives on the topics of food and nutrition.

After a successful run in the ART WORKS Projects’ Chicago studio, which attracted more than twenty local organizations and hundreds of visitors, the exhibit will now travel to Milan in conjunction with Expo Milano 2015: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” As part of the “Expo in città” programming through the U.S. Consulate General Milan, the exhibit will be displayed in the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology along with a major exhibition dedicated to the changes that have marked the way we eat and the complexity of the food system, involving food production professionals, researchers and industry experts, teenagers and adults.

SUSTENANCE: CHICAGO AND THE FOOD CHAIN will run August 27 – September 20 at the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci

Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci
Via San Vittore 21 – 20123 Milano
Tuesday-Friday: 9.30-19.00
Saturday: 9.30-21.00
Sunday: 9.30-19.00
Closed on Monday

For press inquiries contact Leslie Thomas: lthomas@artworksprojects.org
For photo inquiries contact Amanda Rivkin: amanda.rivkin@gmail.com

Presented with support from the U.S. Consulate General in Milan and GCM Grosvenor
Photography by Amanda Rivkin
Curated by Leslie Thomas
Graphic design by Sawyer Agency
Exhibition design by Greg Doench

“Sustenance: Chicago and the Food Chain” documenta la realtà dell’accesso al cibo a Chicago, città gemellata con Milano, attraverso le potenti immagini della fotografa americana Amanda Rivkin. La mostra illustra il modo in cui la catena alimentare globale crea opportunità e sfide nell’ambito della soddisfazione dei bisogni nutrizionali, soprattutto nei nostri maggiori centri urbani. Le fotografie di Amanda Rivkin permettono di vedere la realtà con gli occhi dei bambini di Chicago: a casa, a scuola e nelle comunità in cui vivono. Le storie raccontate sono locali, ma le questioni di fronte alle quali esse ci pongono sono globali. La programmazione della mostra in questo particolare periodo dell’anno s’innesta sulle tematiche di Expo Milano 2015 e si svolge in contemporanea alla mostra #FoodPeople al Museo.

Questa installazione riflette su pratiche ambientali e agricole sostenibili che rispondono alle sfide alimentari del nuovo millennio.

Amanda Rivkin è una fotografa americana il cui lavoro è stato pubblicato in The Financial Times, Foreign Policy, Le Monde, The London Sunday Times Magazine, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, TIME, e altri. Il suo lavoro ha ricevuto numerosi riconoscimenti, tra cui quello del Fulbright Program e della National Geographic Society.

Il progetto è presentato con il sostegno del Consolato Generale degli Stati Uniti di Milano.

Progetto grafico: Sawyer Agency
Exhibition design: Greg Doench
Il contributo per creare questa mostra è stato fornito da GCM Grosvenor

Now a Corbis Contributor!

After a year hiatus from agencies following my departure from VII Photo Agency at the conclusion of my two-year tenure in the VII Mentor Program from 2012-2014 working with Ron Haviv, I am now signed as a Corbis contributor. Corbis Images will license my archive internationally for the next two and a half years. From 2008-2011, I was represented by Polaris Images.

Art Works Projects Exhibits Touring Europe

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Big news! My first museum show is opening in a little over a week. Here is a little teaser from Art Works Projects:

Exciting exhibits are touring Europe – ART WORKS is bringing “Sanctuary and Sustenance” to Cologne and “Sustenance: Chicago and the Food Chain” to Milan!

Thanks to our collaborators Amanda Rivkin Photography, the U.S. Consulate General Milan, Manifest Media, and Art und Amen.

The Phoblographer ISO 400: Amanda Rivkin Talks About Photojournalism Internationally

“In this episode of ISO 400, we hear from Amanda Rivkin, an American photojournalist currently based in Chicago who has a wealth of international experience, having worked in places like Azerbaijan, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Turkey. She’s been published in a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, Le Monde and Newsweek among others. She has a deep understanding of storytelling and an eye for subtlety that you don’t often find in news photographs.”

View Julius‘ blog post and watch the video on The Phoblographer.

Latvia’s Dark Past on @OpenSocietyFoundations Instagram

Go have a look, I just finished the week of 16 posts of images and stories from my recent trip to Latvia on the @opensocietyfoundations Instagram feed. From day one’s post and by way of explanation of the delve into Latvia’s past:

My father was born a refugee in West Germany after the Second World War and with Latvia being absorbed into the Soviet Union as an Iron Curtain soon divided Europe, we never became acquainted with the land itself until I began working and studying in the region, despite the fact that Latvian culture, humor and persistence permeate our day to day lives.

Latvia was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940, then occupied by Nazi Germany from 1941-1945 before it was reoccupied by the Soviet Union from 1945 until Latvian independence and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Here are five images from the week:

"Here is a view from the Hotel Latgale in Rezekne that looks out at the United for Latvia monument. Rezekne is the regional capital of Latgale, which is the eastern region my family is from."

“Here is a view from the Hotel Latgale in Rezekne that looks out at the United for Latvia monument. Rezekne is the regional capital of Latgale, which is the eastern region my family is from.”

"When my friends and I arrived in my grandmother's town, we went to the store to ask if there was someone who might be able to tell us about the town's history. Inta, the shopkeeper, called Stanislava who met us in front of the school ten minutes later. We spent the afternoon touring mass graves and monuments to deportations. Here she is at the Red Army mass grave, the only one with names and burial plots, behind the school. Stanislava was great, she called me "my daughter" most of the afternoon, my friend said later, and gave us as thorough of a tour as anyone could. She was also more excited than anyone I've met when I told her the family names, and within the first few sentences said something my father has said many times, namely we must study history because it changes all the time."

“When my friends and I arrived in my grandmother’s town, we went to the store to ask if there was someone who might be able to tell us about the town’s history. Inta, the shopkeeper, called Stanislava who met us in front of the school ten minutes later. We spent the afternoon touring mass graves and monuments to deportations. Here she is at the Red Army mass grave, the only one with names and burial plots, behind the school. Stanislava was great, she called me “my daughter” most of the afternoon, my friend said later, and gave us as thorough of a tour as anyone could. She was also more excited than anyone I’ve met when I told her the family names, and within the first few sentences said something my father has said many times, namely we must study history because it changes all the time.”

"If you are a student of Eastern Europe, you may know what you are looking at. It is a site of genocide. In 1941, the Jewish inhabitants of the town were taken to either end of the town and shot. This is one end of the town. A small monument marks the place; it contains no names."

“If you are a student of Eastern Europe, you may know what you are looking at. It is a site of genocide. In 1941, the Jewish inhabitants of the town were taken to either end of the town and shot. This is one end of the town. A small monument marks the place; it contains no names.”

"With Stanislava we toured mass graves, monuments to deportations and acts of mass murder - the one in front of the school listed a relative. Stanislava invited us to the storeroom, where Inta, the shopkeeper, invited us to drink a strong 60 proof homebrew liquor called shmakovka while we asked each other questions."

“With Stanislava we toured mass graves, monuments to deportations and acts of mass murder – the one in front of the school listed a relative. Stanislava invited us to the storeroom, where Inta, the shopkeeper, invited us to drink a strong 60 proof homebrew liquor called shmakovka while we asked each other questions.”

"The Lido restaurant in Riga's largest outpost is on the outskirts. There is a range of every kind of Latvian national food (and lines for fried potatoes!) including many kinds of herring, fish, pork, cutlet, ribs, Latvian beers, and on the lower level, dancing. It is just the sort of place a less humble nation might call representative of freedom itself, Latvian-style."

“The Lido restaurant in Riga’s largest outpost is on the outskirts. There is a range of every kind of Latvian national food (and lines for fried potatoes!) including many kinds of herring, fish, pork, cutlet, ribs, Latvian beers, and on the lower level, dancing. It is just the sort of place a less humble nation might call representative of freedom itself, Latvian-style.”