From the mountain valleys of Afghanistan, to the concrete jungle of London, Poppy traces the international path of heroin production and distribution from East to West. Antoinette de Jong and Robert Knoth take you on a journey along the modern Silk Road, through areas that are off-limits to most travellers. Their journey start in Afghanistan and takes you to Central-Asia, the Balkans, Somalia and the UK. The exhibition Poppy sheds light on a shadowy world in which drugs, armed conflict, transnational crime, and corruption have become interdependent.
A trail of heroin
Beginning the project as a series of news assignments in the early 1990s, De Jong and Knoth have since covered the civil war of the mujahedeen, the rise of the Taleban and the international intervention after 9/11. Until 2011 they documented the impact of Afghan opiates along the poppy trails. The old Silk Road which once brought pearls and porcelain to the west is now bringing death. The annual trade in Afghan opiates amounts to 65 billion dollar, 15 million people use heroin. According to the UN,100,000 people die each year as a result of Afghan heroin –more than form any other drug.
Audiovisual journey through the world
An important part of Poppy: Trails of Afghan Heroin is the audiovisual as a continuous representation in the Humanity House. The visitor will be taken on an high-speed multimedia journey of 45 minutes which combines photography with video, personal diary and reportage-elements. The encounters and observations recorded by Knoth and De Jong offer a remarkable perspective on the international developments that have dominated the news for two decades.