The Sounds of Madagascar

Joey Hill

The Dean’s Gallery of the Miller Nichols library began a new photography exhibit known as “HEMISPHERES” on Jan. 15.

On display along the interior wall is a collection of 20 large print photographs showing the members of a musical group built by citizens of a community sponsored by Unbound, a worldwide charity fund. Through donations by online donors, Unbound helps support education and the arts among impoverished communities around the world.  The exhibition was provided as part of the release of the album “Voices of Unbound: Madagascar” which Unbound developed through funding and features native music of the African island.

The images are displayed along the North wall of the fourth floor of the Miller Nichols library. Bordered with minimal black frames the photographs are scaled up to large almost two feet by three feet. Placed also along the wall are four tables all displaying photographs of the citizens of the village. The multimedia aspect of the exhibit comes in the form of the Quick Response codes places next to each large print. When scanned with a smart phone the code sends the viewer to the Unbound website to watch a video linked with the image.

Some are videos of the musicians playing songs and others are of the volunteers of Unbound which helped with the project talk about their experiences composing the album. The photographs are crisp, clear, and high detailed. Viewers can relish in the dents and rust spots on the rim of an ancient snare drum, the tarnished chrome on a banjo, and the vibrant colors on the instruments displayed at an store in Antsirabe. The photos show great quality and are displayed in the natural light of the wall-sized windows which adds a vibrancy to the colors of the photographs.

One particular photo, entitled “Sway” shows a man and woman in a brick house. The man is dressed in a vibrant red shirt and sitting in a chair while strumming a guitar. The woman is dressed in a white dress glowing like white heat from the bright sunlight entering the house through the open windows. The video it is linked to shows the couple, who are the parents of a child sponsored by Unbound, after a session of recording for the “Voices of Unbound: Madagascar” album. The father Haja is playing while Nivo his wife dances and fellow members of the band join in. It’s the gems like this that show a community joined in the joy of the arts, and makes “HEMISPHERES” a real treat for the library goer with some free time.