Artist Tim Benson Wants To Show Us How Much Ebola Survivors Continue To Suffer


Tim Benson is a British artist who has undertaken the task of painting portraits of Ebola survivors in Sierra Leone to be shown at a solo exhibition in London in November.

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He embarked on a trip to Sierra Leone in November 2015, to interview and photograph survivors of the Ebola outbreak.

For a project that compassed subjects from nurses, doctors, burial teams to personal caregivers of Ebola victims, he managed to amass quite a knowledge base of the aftershock of the deadly disease.

He says on the website of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters;

“During the course of my trip, I was struck by how surviving this awful disease is in many cases only the beginning of an ongoing ordeal.”

He notes that several of the survivors were stigmatized and then ostracized by their communities.

“Many survivors, doctors, nurses and others that came into contact with the virus were ostracized by their communities. Husbands left wives, children were cast out of home and jobs were lost. It is this stigmatization that remains relatively unreported.”

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Tim Benson’s exhibition ‘Faces of Ebola’ will hold from 7 to 13 November 2016 at the Mall Galleries’ Threadneedle Space and will seek to highlight the hardship and stigma that survivors of the devastating disease continue to battle.

It is meant to feature both large and small scale oil on canvas painting. The portraits will however not only show faces of the survivors, but also reveal deeper aspects of their character.

One of the ways that he hopes to provide a better understanding of the stories is by accompanying each portrait with an audio interview with the subject. A percentage of funds raised will go directly back to the individuals featured in the show.

Tim Benson was educated at Glasgow School of Art and Byam Shaw School of Art between 1998 and 2001.

A figurative artist, Benson 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.