An astounding journey within Darfur, South Sudan

Photographs by Deborah Terry

February 23 – March 23, 2011


An exhibition organized by the

Institute of African American Affairs at NYU

and curated by Lydie Diakhaté



Wednesday, February 23rd

6:00 – 8:00 pm

at Institute of African American Affairs

New York University

41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor Gallery

New York, NY 10003

Exhibit will run February 23 – March 23, 2011

Closed on Saturdays & Sundays

Please  RSVP at (212) 998-IAAA (4222)




Silence. The time shrinks into the instant. Arid landscapes stretch out far away, barren ground bears silent lives. Bruised lives, stolen lives. Deborah Terry’s photographs take us into an astounding journey within Darfur, South Sudan. While she was discovering the inconceivable, people living in fear for their lives, Terry did not give up hope in them, and her camera did not look down. With a subtle innocence for clarity, tranquility and poetry she captured the fragile beauty that takes you beyond the shame and sadness that was the lot of the Darfur people. In these portraits, there is nothing to distinguish one day from the next, yesterday, today and tomorrow, all merge into one. Time stands still.

In her own words, here’s how Terry describes the work: “Simplicity, clarity, beauty and contrast are elements I strive to integrate into my experience and perceptions as I see them through my lens.  To me, a great picture happens spontaneously and there is often a strong connection between me and my subject that words cannot describe”.



Born in Washington, DC, Deborah Terry’s career as a professional photographer has spanned over two decades.  In the early 1990s, she moved to New York City to pursue that career, focusing her creative energies in fashion photography.  By the end of that decade, she had made the leap from fashion to music, working for various record labels and shooting many top artists in hip hop and R&B.

Five years ago, Ms. Terry’s photographic career took a completely different turn when she participated in missions to Liberia and Darfur for Refugees International.   Since that time, she has been challenging herself to a more self-fulfilling journey as she has used her artistic vision to capture the desperate plight of refugees and other impoverished peoples by exposing the resilient and enduring inner-beauty that lies beneath the hardship of their everyday life.  Among the exhibits and events at which Ms. Terry’s humanistic images have recently been shown are:

•           New York:  The Lincoln Center and Chashama Gallery

•           Miami:  Art Basel

•           Washington, DC:  Foto Week DC, a solo exhibit at the Life Essentials’ Art Show; “East of the River” at the Honfleur Gallery; an exhibit entitled “Stories” (along side NBC’s Ann Curry) at the Honfleur Gallery; a solo exhibit entitled “Migrations” at the Gallery at Vivid Solutions; and Cultural Tourism DC at Whole Foods

•           HBO:  “Sand and Sorrow” documentary on Darfur

Ms. Terry is the Vice President and Creative Director of International Lifeline Fund (ILF) – a Washington DC-based non-profit organization that seeks to “help people help themselves” through innovative interventions that yield the greatest possible impact at the lowest possible cost.  ILF provides clean drinking water to thousands of people who live in remote African villages.  ILF also operates a fuel-efficient stove program, which is profoundly improving the quality of human life at the same time it is helping to reduce global warming.  ILF’s programs are located in Darfur, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya.

Ms. Terry is currently working on a photographic book.  Proceeds from that book and the sale of her photos will be used to help fund ILF’s projects in Africa.