"Watch out she is a witch!" is an accusation that means a hard lot for the lives of thousands of women in Africa, often it is a death sentence. This very day there are still cruel witch hunts in Sub-Saharan Africa. Partly caused by the belief in witchcraft that remains strong in this region. But accusations of witchcraft are frequently also a consequence of poverty that makes certain women a burden for their family or creates jealousy and disputes. In order to get rid of them it is claimed that they had caused sickness, arguments and other problems. They are branded as witches and expelled - chased, tortured and many of them even murdered.
Some alleged witches find refuge in so called “witch camps” like e.g. Gambaga or Gushiegu in the north of Ghana where photographer Ann-Christine Woehrl carried out her project Witches in Exile. The Berlin-based gallery Pinter & Milch is presenting the series of portraits that the artist had started in Gambaga in 2009 and only completed in January 2013 in Gushiegu.
Witches in Exile is based on the photographer ́s intention to give the women back their individual identity, dignity and pride.
Banished into the camps they are exiled from their communities, deprived from their previous roles and identities. Stigmatized as witches they live in very poor conditions, often under the control of male village chiefs and often used as free labour for fieldwork.
The Finnish magazine Photo Raw published Witches in Exile as a portfolio in 2010 and in 2011 the project was awarded the WPGA Editorial, Jacob Riis and Pollux Award.
Ann-Christine Woehrl was born in 1975 and grew up in Germany in France. From 1994 to 1996 she studied photography in Paris and worked as an assistant to David C. Turnley, as a lab assistant to Reza and did an internship at Magnum Photos Paris. For the artist photography is a way to meet “other worlds and realities.” In addition to artistic expression, she wants her work to raise awareness for injustice and bring about change - even very little change. In recent years Woehrl’s subjects have mainly dealt with women, belief and destiny. Her projects focus on communities and individuals who have been banished by vague social, political or cultural reasons. She lives and works in Munich.
Pinter & Milch Website