British Ambassador Philip Malone and Simon Rea, Programme Officer at Mines Advisory Group or MAG launched an exhibition by British photographer Tessa Bunney recently at Monument Books in Vientiane. According to the ambassador, the exhibition celebrated female faces behind Unexploded Ordnance or UXO clearance in Xiengkhuang.

Speaking at opening ceremony of the photo exhibition at the Monument Books, British Ambassador Philip Malone said, the topic of UXO clearance was highlighted through photographs and film shot by Tessa Bunney during a week spent with MAG’s all-female UXO clearance team, UCT-6. He said, he was also pleased to be present at the showing of Tessa’s work to the women of UCT6 during my recent visit to Xiengkhuang Province, and to see MAG’s work in action.

Tessa’s photographs bring a new angle to the issue of UXOs, showing a very personal take on the lives of the women employed to clear these dangerous remnants of conflict and also the opportunity this kind of work has given them.

Tessa, a resident of the Lao PDR, has succeeded in bringing the issue of UXO contamination in Laos to an international audience through her work. The UK’s Financial Times magazine featured her work earlier this year, leading to a significant increase in donations to MAG to support UXO clearance.

When ask when asked which picture she likes most, Tessa Bunney said, she likes this picture because it was something that she came across while she was driving on the way back from visiting the UXO team.

She said, It looks like such a happy, everyday scene but there’s a whole row of old bombs there. For her, it shows how normal it has become to have UXOs in some body’s backyard and It’s really sad that after forty years this is still a problem in Laos,.

MAG has been working in Laos for almost 20 years. With UK government funding since 2008, the company has cleared over 6 million square metres of land, destroying 21,938 pieces of UXO to the benefit of almost 350,000 people.

The exhibition entitled The Women of UCT6 will be open to the public until 30 September, opening times being Monday -Saturday, 9 am to 8 pm and Sunday 9am to 6 pm.

Source: LNTV Lao News in English