Called Witness to Hunger, the exhibit of 27 photos will be at the Toledo Museumof Art’s Community Gallery from June 28 to Aug. 9. The exhibit is part of ProMedica Advocacy’s collaborative Come to the Table initiative to address hunger as a health issue both locally and nationally.
Among the amateur photos in the exhibit is “Watching Over Khalil” by Oni Parrish, a working Toledo mother who captured her only child eating breakfast with her shadow in the background. Ms. Parrish, who has needed food assistance on and off since 5-year-old Khalil was born, said her son plans his day around meals.
|'Watching Over Khalil' by Oni Parrish|
“Before his eyes open, he’ll ask: ‘Can I have breakfast?’ ” Ms. Parrish said. “Food is his world.”
Like many Witness to Hunger photographers, Ms. Parrish worries the only food she can afford for her son at times is not nutritious. Poor nutrition – and its link to obesity and other health problems – is another social aspect of food insecurity and hunger that ProMedica is addressing.
“We wanted to illuminate hunger-related problems that are often overlooked in the United States,” said Stephanie Cihon, ProMedica’s corporate director of community relations, advocacy and corporate events. “These compelling photos give us a glimpse into the daily lives of people experiencing hunger and food insecurity.”
|'Bedtime Story' by Oni Parrish|
In October, photos from the exhibit will travel to Washington, D.C., for a national summit ProMedica is holding with one of its Come to the Table partners, The Alliance to End Hunger. The photos will be used to help convince the summit’s audience of healthcare leaders to join ProMedica in addressing hunger as a health issue – and the federal legislators in the crowd to protect food-related policies and programs.
Then, the photos will return to northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, where they will travel among ProMedica hospitals and other venues into next year.
Exhibit participants began with a workshop at the Toledo Museum of Art, where they learned not only how to use their new cameras but information about photo composition, lighting, color, and more. After taking photos over several weeks, the group reconvened at the museum to select and annotate photos that appear in the exhibit.
Ms. Parrish said she chose another one of her photos, of her and Khalil enjoying a book together called “Bedtime Story,” because she hopes the exhibit will dispel stereotypes that people needing assistance are lazy or have no values. Many other photos show smiles or grimaces as subjects respond to conditions around them.
ProMedica is presenting the photo exhibit in partnership with Toledo Museum of Art, The Andersons, American Frame, Food for Thought, Toledo Portrait, and Hickory Farms. For more information about Witness to Hunger, visit www.promedica.org/witnesstohunger<http://www.promedica.org/witnesstohunger>.