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Speaker: Sue Cunningham
Sue Cunningham will talk about the Brazilian Amazon based on her work for Indigenous People’s Cultural Support Trust, a charity registered with the English Charity Commission. Her aim is to raise awareness of issues affecting tropical forests and their indigenous tribal inhabitants, with an emphasis on their relevance to us – climate change and global warming, human rights and cultural diversity. The photographs and videos shown during her talks form the basis of a multimedia exhibition which has been staged at the Brazilian Embassy in London, the Memorial of Indigenous Peoples museum in Brasilia, the Caixa Cultural Gallery in Sao Paulo and the Penny Gallery in Kingston upon Thames.
Sue has a special interest in Brazil, and particularly in indigenous people and the environment, subjects she has been photographing for over twenty years. Her work is used extensively in travel and educational books and magazines, including the well-known Insight Guides and Geographical Magazine. She photographed and co-authored Out of the Amazon with Professor Sir Ghillean Prance, then Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and provided the photos for ‘Brazil In The School’, an educational pack published by the Brazilian Embassy in London. Sue also works for advertising agencies, where her reportage style of photographing people is valued; assignments vary from oil rigs to coffee growing in Peru for Cafe Direct. Her images have been used in special promotions, including ‘Brazil 40 Degrees’, at Selfridges in Oxford Street, London.
She was the photographer for European Dialogue, a magazine published by the European Commission. She accompanied Sting and the Body Shop’s Anita Roddick on several visits to the Brazilian Amazon, combining photography with interpreting and explaining the indigenous tribal cultures.
During her career Sue has had many exhibitions. Highlights include ‘Personal View’, Nikon Gallery, London; ‘Amazon Values’, Kew Gallery, Royal Botanic Gardens, London; ‘Amazon’, Brazilian Embassy, Paris; ‘Viva Amazonia’, Natural History Museum, Lisbon; “Heart of Brazil” at Gallery 32, London. Her pictures have featured in several special exhibitions, including the Global Forum at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, ‘The Knowledge of Plants’, Asahi building, Tokyo, ‘Amazonia’, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, and ‘Unknown Amazon’ at the British Museum and Ecos do Planeta, Bienal, Sao Paulo.
Sue is an Associate of the British Institute of Professional Photography, and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. She has also worked in television, specialising in location work and logistics, as well as shooting stills.
Apart from her photography, Sue is a trustee of the Indigenous People’s Cultural Support Trust. Sue and her husband Patrick Cunningham are recipients of the Neville Shulman Award from the Royal Geographical Society for their ‘Heart of Brazil Expedition’ project. The expedition was an epic journey, travelling the 2,500 kilometres of the Xingu river in a small boat. They visited 48 tribal villages to document how the Indians are being affected by climate change and the dramatic conversion of rain forest to cattle pasture and agricultural land. They wanted to see the impact these changes are having on their traditional way of life and cultures.