This work ships from Warrington , GB.
In 2009, Tiwonge Chimbalanga (pictured) and her husband Steven Monjeza Soko were arrested in
their home country of Malawi. They were convicted and sentenced to the maximum penalty of fourteen years. According to the sentencing magistrate, the severity of the sentence was justified to protect Malawian society: “I will give you a scaring sentence so that the public be protected from people like you, so that we are not tempted to emulate this horrendous example.” The case attracted an international outcry and both were later pardoned on the condition that they do not have any future contact with each other. Following release and fearing attack, Tiwonge fled to South Africa.
Tiwonge was photographed by Robin Hammond for Where Love is Illegal, a global campaign sharing the stories of LGBTQI+ people who face discrimination because of who they love or how they identify. Every participant in the project is given the opportunity to collaborate in the making of their photograph so they can present themselves how they want to be seen.
Where Love is Illegal is a Witness Change project. Witness Change believes that societies are shaped by the stories they tell. Marginalized people are often excluded from their own stories or are stigmatized in them. This means that their needs are at risk of not being understood, their rights may be abused, and in many cases, their lives are put at risk. Their invisibility means that those who may have the ability to offer support cannot empathize with them or advocate for changes which would improve their conditions. Witness Change exists to improve life for marginalized groups by amplifying their stories. Their vision is to create inclusive societies with equal rights for all.
Esteemed photographer Robin Hammond (New Zelander, b. 1975) has dedicated his artist practice to documenting global human rights issues and marginalized groups through long-term photographic projects. His photographs have been featured on the covers of Time Magazine and National Geographic, and he has won numerous awards including the World Press Photo prize, six Picture of the Year International Awards, and the W. Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography. He was also named one of ‘100 Leading Global Thinkers’ by Foreign Policy and addressed the United Nations on LGBTQI+ discrimination in 2018. Hammond further encourages social engagement through his company Witness Change, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending human rights violations through visual storytelling.