In the organizer's words:

Pinky Promise is photographer Pierre Crocquet's impressive and thought-provoking project about the sexual abuse of children in South Africa. Exhibited for the first time in Germany in 2012, his photographs are being presented again at the Seippel Gallery in Cologne, almost 11 years after his death.

This extraordinary project, which is accompanied by a book of the same name published by HatjeCantz, was the result of three intensive years of rapprochement, photography and countless personal interviews with the victims, perpetrators, family members, criminal investigators, doctors and therapists involved in the project.

With great sensitivity and in an attempt to be as impartial as possible, eight very different stories of five victims and three perpetrators are presented. They all tell of sexual abuse, the wounds and traumas of both victims and perpetrators, as well as the circumstances that can ultimately contribute to a possible slow "healing" of these wounds.

Crocquet's haunting and empathetic black and white photographs are complemented by numerous letters, family photos, diary entries and similar documents from the lives of the people portrayed. Without judgment, his photographs deal with the stories of the victims and perpetrators. The memories reveal trauma and healing on both sides. Victims and perpetrators share a secret - through the enforced promise to remain silent, symbolized in the mutual crossing of little fingers: Pinky Promise. The act of abuse crystallizes into a past that cannot be allowed to pass, but must last forever. Pierre's present scenes thus appear in black and white, while the personal documents, such as family albums, light up in vivid color.

Throughout the project, Pierre Crocquet was in close contact with experts who have worked with victims of child sexual abuse and perpetrators for a long time. These experts also supported Pierre Crocquet with legal and ethical advice. He was always aware that he was entering extremely difficult territory as a "non-specialist". Pinky Promise therefore does not claim to be able to describe the phenomenon of child abuse comprehensively or even conclusively. Rather, the photographer's aim is to use the stories presented to raise awareness of this complex social and global problem, which is reaching truly epidemic proportions in some parts of the world. With this exhibition, Pierre Crocquet also wanted to raise awareness of the need to safeguard children's rights to integrity and a non-violent private sphere.

"I think the truth is very difficult - or even impossible - to find out about any subject. So I wanted to convey a sense of that. To do that, I had to involve both the victims of abuse and the perpetrators." (Pierre Crocquet)

Pierre Crocquet was born in Cape Town in 1971, but grew up in a small town west of Johannesburg. After his studies in Cape Town, he went to London to study photography at the London College of Printing. After returning to South Africa in 2001, he devoted his photographic work in particular to the lives of people in South Africa and on the African continent. In 2013, the artist died in a tragic car accident. The exhibition is dedicated to his memory.

"I am a storyteller. I don't so much choose subjects to photograph, but people, and tell their stories. Subjects etc. emerge from their stories, or whatever is to be told is told." (Pierre Crocquet)

Pinky Promise, Hatje Cantz, ISBN 978-3-7757-3173-7

This content has been machine translated.


Galerie Seippel Zeughausstraße 26 50667 Köln

Location | Gallery

Galerie Seippel
Galerie Seippel Zeughausstraße 26 50667 Köln

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