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These images were made two days after the Australian Government closed the Lombrum, Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea and abandoned over 600 asylum seekers to their fate with no water, food, power ... and no services whatsoever. Freelance photographer Brian Cassey and journalist Rory Callinan were “smuggled” by local boat to the detention centre at the invitation of asylum seekers attempting a supply run for food and medicines. These are the images Brian made as the men struggled to come to terms with being abandoned. The men were forcibly removed from the camp by armed PNG police three weeks later.
Brian had a total of 18 minutes inside the detention centre to produce the images included in this exhibition … the images you weren’t supposed to see.
Brian - a Nikon Walkley Award winning photojournalist - has been working for Australian and International newspapers, wires and magazines covering news, features and sport for decades. His work includes - the tsunami in Papua New Guinea (1998), the evacuation of East Timor refugees (1999), the Fiji coup and Melbourne World Economic Forum riots (2000), the Bali bomb blast victims in 2002, the 2004 Asian tsunami disaster in Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar, the devastating category 5 Cyclones Larry and Yasi (2006, 2011) in Australia - and detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island PNG in 2013, 2016, 2017.
This is Brian's third personal Head On Photo Festival exhibition. His work has also featured in many Head On group exhibitions.