Feature Articles

September 2013

Clinton College in Rock Hill, SC, Features Works by Jim Stratakos

Clinton College in Rock Hill, SC, will present Korogocho: Photography, Painting, & Mixed Media Work by Jim Stratakos, on view in the Harry & Rebecca Dalton Gallery, from Sept. 1 through Dec. 6, 2013. A gallery talk and reception will be held on Oct. 29, from 6:30-8pm.

Award winning photo-journalist Jim Stratakos offers an intimate look at Korogocho, a massive slum in Nairobi, Kenya. A Swahili word for ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’, Korogocho is home to thousands of orphans of AIDs-afflicted parents. Stratakos traveled to Korogocho in 2006 and 2011 to document the work of the Kenya Orphanage Project and to assist raising money to establish a children’s center.

The crux of the exhibition includes forty-eight photographs taken by Stratakos while escorted by armed guards within the dangerous, barbed-wire compound that has no running water and is spilling over with abject poverty. In conjunction with the photographic narrative of the exhibition are several large abstract and mixed media paintings. The paintings evoke a sense of the artist’s anguish in digesting humanity’s shortcomings and the perceptible sadness captured by his camera.

The mixed media component of Stratakos’ work echoes the tactile, physical realm of the slum with its haphazard shelters constructed from found scrap metal and indigenous materials. Stratakos uses his artistic skills in the hope of increasing awareness of the plight of poverty and a call for social change.

As a photographer documenting local stories for The Herald newspaper in York County, South Carolina since 1989, Stratakos is a familiar face in the Rock Hill community. His work with The Herald has garnered numerous awards including the Mark Twain Award from the Associated Press, the President’s Award from McClatchy for his depictions of the third world living conditions of the Blackmon Road Community outside Rock Hill, and First Place Award from the SC Press Association for his coverage of the Korogocho Slum. His photographs have also appeared in The New York Times, Time, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Stratakos retired from The Herald in 2011 and is currently both an adjunct professor of photojournalism and MFA candidate at Winthrop University.

Stratakos was born and educated in New York City. A city wide high school art competition in painting led to a scholarship at the Brooklyn Museum of Art where he studied figure painting under Francis Cunningham. Stratakos continued to pursue his passion for painting and studied under Gabriel Ladderman, however his interest shifted to three dimensional design and he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute in New York.

Stratakos’ participation with the ROTC at Pratt led to his serving the US Army as an Ordinance Officer. While stationed in South Korea, his personal interest in photographing people and their culture was sparked. Later his career included working for two newspapers, the Raleigh, NC, News and Observer and The Rock Hill Herald. Stratakos is familiar with Clinton College from his coverage of the college’s annual fall convocations as a photojournalist for the Herald for the past twenty years.

Stratakos explained, “It’s a warm feeling and very meaningful to me that I have my debut exhibition as a visual artist at Clinton College’s Dalton Gallery.”

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings or call Marie Cheek at 415/990-6799.

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