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Tim Benson’s portraits of Ebola survivors

British artist, Tim Benson, has painted portraits of Ebola survivors in Sierra Leone to be shown at a solo exhibition in London in November.

Surviving Ebola; sitting for a portrait

In November 2015, British artist Tim Benson, embarked on a trip to Sierra Leone to interview and photograph survivors of the recent Ebola outbreak. His subjects included nurses, doctors, burial teams and personal caregivers of Ebola victims.

“During the course of my trip,” Benson is quoted saying on the website of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, “I was struck by how surviving this awful disease is in many cases only the beginning of an ongoing ordeal.”

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Some of the survivors, he noted, have been stigmatised and ostracised by their families and communities. The stories of these survivors are documented in a series of portraits which Benson will exhibit in London in November. The exhibition, ‘Faces of Ebola’, will highlight the hardship and stigma that survivors of the devastating disease continue to battle.

Featuring both large and small scale oil on canvas painting, the portraits do not only show faces of the survivors, but also reveal deeper aspects of their character. In order to provide a better understanding of their stories, each portrait will be accompanied by an audio interview with the subject.

Tim Benson beside one of his portraits of Ebola survivors. Photo: Tim Benson/Twitter, @timbensonart
Tim Benson beside one of his portraits of Ebola survivors. Photo: Tim Benson/Twitter, @timbensonart

About the artist

Tim Benson was educated at Glasgow School of Art and Byam Shaw School of Art between 1998 and 2001. A figurative artist, Benson’s works are often not merely a representation of the physique of the sitter but are also evocative of the sitter’s character and mood.

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He was elected Vice President of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 2013. The same year, he was awarded the ‘Arts Club Charitable Trust Award’, at the annual exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Mall Galleries.

Benson teaches art at various institutions in the U.K. He is the Course Director of the Diploma in Portraiture at Heatherley School of Fine Art.

The ‘Faces of Ebola’ exhibition will hold at the Threadneedle Space, Mall Galleries, from 7 to 13 November 2016.

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