Beasts of Burden

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


During the Rwandan genocide of 1994, members of the Hutu ethnic majority in the east-central African nation of Rwanda murdered an estimated one million people (UN, 2012), mostly of the Tutsi minority, in just 100 days.

The genocide spread throughout the country with shocking speed and brutality, as ordinary citizens were incited to take up arms against their neighbours. 25 years after the genocide a unique initiative pairs perpetrator of the genocide with their surviving victims. They raise a calf together, in an effort to reconcile and develop a sustainable future as an integrated community. Seawright made two trips to Rwanda in 2019 and 2020 – observing reconciliation workshops and meeting perpetrators and survivors of the genocide. His portraits of paired victims and those who killed their families are paired with portraits of the animals they share. The beasts carry the weight of the past and stand as powerful metaphors for post-conflict reconciliation.

This research has been exhibited in Ireland and Germany, with selected works exhibited in USA and one photograph reaching the Zurich Portrait Photograph of the year 2020 shortlist. The 72-page photobook publication visually documents a point in time of the reconciliation process manifested through the Rwandan people and the Beasts of Burden and allows for widespread international dissemination (inc Tate Photobook collection, MPF, ICP Library New York)
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCologne, Germany
PublisherStrzelecki Books
Number of pages38
ISBN (Print)9783946770787
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 10 Mar 2021


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