The evening of October 1st was cold enough that the immediate glow of fairy lights, live jazz, and blessedly warm free coffees available upon entering the Barron were immediate hits. Not to mention the delicious home-baked goods. And chocolates.

After managing to tear myself away from guzzling an inappropriate amount of cake, I found the beginning of what turned out to be a very well-organised and touching exhibition mostly, I sheepishly noted, confronting world hunger.

Medsin Society’s Millennium Development Goals (or MDGs) art exhibition addressed the eight MDGs put in place at the start of the new millennium by the UN with an aim of fulfillment by 2015. The exhibition used words, photography and artwork to study how far we have come since then, and how much more there is to do to reach these MDGs. As helpfully outlined early on in the evening, but reiterated throughout the exhibition, the eight MDGs focus on elements like the reduction of child mortality, promotion of gender equality, and the eradication of extreme poverty.

The Barron’s difficult space was used very effectively; after having been cramped in there the day before for a very popular life-drawing class, I was particularly appreciative of how well they managed it. The ‘stage-area’ of the Barron was ringed with extraordinary pictures that looked entirely professional and captured extreme humanity while still allowing humour at some points, context and – most importantly – a clear message that backed the point of the exhibition without indulging good photography with tenuous links. Particularly beautiful were the photographs by Christine Schulte; most particularly her ‘Wisdom and Laughter,’ and Hannah Raval’s ‘In Thought.’ Each clearly delineated one of the main MDGs and furthered it into a very personal perspective.

Surrounding the seating area was the art punctuated by some very well-placed and well chosen extracts from the popular Humans of New York blogger Brandon Stanton, who recently traveled the world on the path of MDGs himself. Much of the artwork confronted female issues and equality, all with different styles and techniques that amplified these messages. From the bright expressionist feel of Jade Rennie’s ‘Women’ – which displayed beautiful painted portrayals of women from different cultures in bright, cheerful colours –  to the muted ‘Dignity’ by Tara McKelvey – a light colour pencilled representation of a young girl’s face in a hijab – each choice was clever and skillful enough to have me scribbling down names in slight awe.

The exhibition was brilliant; its lively atmosphere had people sitting in squishy armchairs with coffees and refusing to leave, and the good music and lovely decoration that accompanied this hard-hitting exhibition was wonderfully pulled off.



Francesca Ffiske