Jim Mc Keever, is a visual narrative constructed of a soft, almost sepia toned and at times pastoral series of innocuous images that belay the deeper darker truth of one mans lifetime experience of unremitting physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of his ‘protectors’ within the care system. This work in its wider context is of course a metaphor for the hidden historical global reality of child sex abuse. The exposure of this reality continues to confront us with new accusations against establishment figures on an almost weekly base.
This project was instigated in 2009, in response to a newspaper interview with a Northern Ireland victim of ‘Institutional Abuse’. On experiencing a further sense of personal abandonment and betrayal at the release of the Ryan Report, within the Irish Republic, he was compelled to speak out about his intimate experience, at the hands of the same religious orders.
John was placed in institutional care with the Sister’s of Nazareth at the age of one day. He left the care system seventeen years later. This photographic narrative of his childhood and teenage life was created over a two-year collaborative period.
Jim Mc Keever says:
‘I worked with John to create a visualisation of the significant places, objects, and memories that still triggered deep feelings of physical and mental pain. Whilst I created all of the images based on John’s memories, it’s important to understand that, within the publication of this work, the final edit and text belong to John. For John the physical presence of the final visual outcome, (particularly the book) had at long last made the apparent invisibility of his experiences tangible’.
Jim Mc Keever is a social documentary photographer working in an exhibition / gallery context. He has an MFA and a BA with First Class Honor’s in Photography from the University of Ulster, Belfast School of Art, and is also a co-founder of the Belfast Photo Factory, a non-profit artists’ collective created to provide an environment for emerging photographers. The group promotes photography through interaction with local and international arts communities. He has exhibited in joint and solo exhibitions within the UK, Ireland and Europe.
His current work is based on applying documentary photography in a fine art context to create a contemporary visual narrative.