A NEW photographic exhibition in Gallery 101 at The Salvation Army's International Headquarters (IHQ) in London celebrates the dignity and hope offered through the work of 'Others', the new name for Sally Ann – The Salvation Army's fair trade brand, or 'trade for hope'. The photos, most of which were taken by 14-year-old Clement Størksen from Norway, show scenes from Others projects in Bangladesh in a display that provokes thoughts about who 'others' are, from friends and family to people in developing countries who can be raised out of poverty through having business opportunities.
The launch of the exhibition began with the the gospel sounds of 'O Happy Day!' – the first-ever performance of the IHQ Lunchtime Gospel Choir. The choir, which is made up of staff and officers from IHQ along with workers from nearby offices, started fortnightly rehearsals in mid-January. Already, more than 30 people from outside IHQ have attended rehearsals.
After the choir had sung, Commissioner Birgitte Brekke-Clifton (International Secretary for Europe) addressed a crowded Café 101 to explain the history of the links between The Salvation Army in Bangladesh – where many of Others' goods are produced – and Norway, which oversees the administration. Clement Størksen was asked about his photography before his dad, Jan Aasman Størksen (Managing Director of Others), explained the thinking behind the exhibition. He expressed a hope that everyone who looked round the display would think beyond the 'buy one, get one free' culture and instead seek to spend their money wisely – even sacrificially – to support people in the developing world.
Gallery 101 at IHQ, which adjoins the public cafe, is overseen and curated by members of the IHQ Communications team. Regular exhibitions are held in the gallery throughout the year, some with obvious Salvation Army links but others in partnership with charities, organisations and other individuals who share the Army's values and ethos. Through arranging interesting and varied exhibitions, IHQ Communications hopes to form strong partnerships and to encourage some of the millions of people who pass IHQ every year to come into the building where they can learn more about The Salvation Army's international ministry.
- 'Others' runs until 26 March 2014
Report by Kevin Sims