In 1991 Alan Belcher travelled to war-torn Liberia in West Africa with United Nations temporary personnel status as a photographer. On his second day in Liberia he was arrested under suspicion of spying by the war-lord Charles Taylor and kept hostage at an abandoned mine in the rebel territory. After release, he spent a week traveling to various market places in and around Monrovia photographing Liberian civil war refugees. The resulting black and white portraits were printed in color and then those photographs were duct-taped to rope which was bound to painted corrugated steel sheets, each with a bag of North American groceries (both fresh and packaged goods) securely sandwiched within. This surplus food held within the sculptures continued to spoil during the passing weeks of exhibition, stressing both the gravity and immediacy imperitive to the Liberian refugee relief situation. This body of work was first exhibited at Josh Baer Gallery in New York, and then at Daniel Buchholz Galerie in Köln. Proceeds from the exhibitions went to the United Nations World Food Program.

© ​ALAN BELCHER 2013