Project Migration
Monday, July 25, 2011 at 04:45 PM | Christina Curran
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   As the summer months progress, the sun keeps shining, the beach keeps calling and we’re longing for an escape from the office. So, I was super excited to attend opening night for the ‘Beach’ photography exhibit at the SoHo Loft Gallery, a gallery space 100% dedicated to funding and raising awareness for Project Migration. Founded by social entrepreneur, Hilary Rowland, Project Migration is an organization that provides clean water and medical supplies to those living in deprived areas of Africa, especially single mothers.

The most recent beach-inspired exhibit features stunning color photos of exotic seaside locations, such as Nice, Maui and Tanzania, as well as amazing underwater captures.  Amidst a sea (no pun intended) of charitable gallery-goers supporting the cause as well as the Magner's sponsorship, I turned my attention  to another section of the gallery: a wall lined with black and white photos portraying various scenes of everyday life in Africa . Taken by photographer Eric Lafforgue on his trips to Africa, the photos range in theme from children playing games in the street to a muscled chest, baring an African pendant atop of body modifications.

The dichotomy of the space is embodied in Hilary Rowland, founder of both Project Migration and the SoHo Loft Gallery. Rowland is young, beautifully demure in appearance and genuine in nature. Our conversation flowed easily, as she explained her hands-on involvement in Project Migration, frequently taking trips to Africa to oversee the distribution of funds and interact with the locals. As a privileged young woman, Rowland felt the guilt of material excess that many of  us feel from time to time, finally giving away many of her material belongings and devoting herself to a larger purpose. After seeing the plight of African locals  face-to- face, Hilary founded Project Migration, which now boasts support from social gatherings, celebrities and fashion accessories. In terms of the SoHo Loft Gallery space, photography is currently the sole medium of art used to bring awareness to the plight in African because, as Rowland explained, it's "important to give a face to the cause."   

If you can’t make it to the gallery (current exhibit ends July 30th) but still want to donate to the cause, Project Migration is also funded by online sales of their Ubuntu Bracelets, handbags and shirts (as seen on Adrian Grenier and Sting, but not currently available on online sales). With each sale of an Ubuntu bracelet, a single mother in Africa will receive one year of clean water and life-saving medical supplies. 

Contact SoHo Loft Gallery to schedule a visit

Tags: joonbug, africa, Do-Gooders, soho, hilary rowland, tanzania, new york