The Leica Gallery London has announced the first UK exhibition of the work by the 41st Leica Oskar Barnard Award (LOBA) winner, Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen with a showing of her Dias Eternos (Eternal Days) project.
Her photos illustrate the crisis in the Latin American penal systems, and the shocking reality for women inmates in this emotional series. Thousands of women sit in over-crowded prisons and detention centers and live in totally inhumane conditions without space, hygiene, medical care or any measure of respect and justice.
Previously nominated for several awards, this body of work opens the door to a daily existence which seems hopeless.
Upon returning to her home country after a long time living in Europe, the Venezuelan photographer was told about the terrifying conditions of the country's female prisons. Stunned by her first impression of the spaces she saw, Gosen pursued the task to get behind the system with her camera and reveal how desperate the poor and vulnerable were without justice. Despite the law decreeing that there is a 45-day limit on deciding if inmates in detention centers should go to prison or be set free, the system apparently often fails and women wait endlessly for days, months and sometimes even years.
As a result, the images are almost unbearable to witness - with the viewer wondering how these people survive in these claustrophobic conditions, where is the air or access to fresh water, these women are being caged like animals.
Since 2017, Gosen has visited four prisons and eleven detention centers and has now extended her quest to El Salvador, where she also works with women who are being rehabilitated into society. She is adamant she will not cease this work until something changes.
The exhibition will show a selection of 20 images from the series and will take place between 11 May and the 10 June 2022 at Leica Gallery London, 64-66 Duke Street, W1K 6JD.