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  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 7, No. 6, 2008
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Robert J. Lewis
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faces of Africa

Laura Archer in Darfur
reviewed by


UPDATE: Laura Archer was kidnapped on March 12th, 2009 in Darfur. Early, unconfirmed reports indicate that her abductors are interested in her purse and not the young and attractive person.

March 14th. Medecins Sans Frontieres announced Laura Archer was freed at noon, unharmed and in good health. No ransom was paid.


Acrylic on canvas based on photograph taken by the artist.Laura Archer is a nurse in Africa, working with Médecins Sans Frontières. At present, and at considerable risk, she is overseeing malnutrition projects in North Darfur. Prior to that, she did a nine month stint in the bush in the Central African Republic where she helped set up an emergency measles vaccination clinic. On her first trip back to Montreal from Africa, she brought back many photographs and portraits of some of her patients, whose plight she felt compelled to share.





Finding herself in the heart of Africa’s horrors, which included deprivation and gender specific violence on a scale reason cannot account for, Laura, with only the minimum of formal training, suddenly found herself with a paint brush in hand, and soon after a gallery of paintings created consequent to her bearing witness.

“When I came home, my friends would just ask questions like: ‘Did you see people die?’ ‘I hear it’s hot over there.’ ‘What did you eat?’ But after seeing the paintings, they would ask, ‘What’s this person’s story?’ and that’s when I could really explain what it was like.”

Acrylic on canvas based on photograph taken by the artist.

To view Laura's paintings, go to her website at


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