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© Quico Garcia

In September, Ariel Rubin’s VICE article The Children of Kampiringisa was accompanied by Quico Garcia’s pictures, mostly portraits of the child prisoners.

The article describes a fetid facility, where child “offenders” (sometimes they’ve been dropped off by parents for poor behaviour) share cells with Kampala’s homeless children. The overcrowded facility breaks international law. Instead of rehabilitation, children endure malnutrition and diseases such as Malaria that – due to lack of medicines – they must “wait out.”

Upon entry into the rehabilitation prison, children are cooped in the “black house”—a barred room where they sleep on the floor, scramble for space and may to procure a filthy blanket. After 25 days they are moved to a dormitory with their own bed.

Garcia’s images for the piece do not show any of the squalid conditions. To the contrary his portraits are intimate and devoid of the trauma Rubin describes. One presumes, the Kampiringisa authorities would not allow photographs of the most desperate spaces and inmates.

VICE’s editorial decision to pair Rubin’s succinct and stark description of Kampiringisa with Garcia’s portraits leads to a dissonance between text and image and potentially misleads the reader/viewer.

Read the article here and view more of Quico Garcia‘s work from Kampiringisa here.


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