Old State Capitol exhibit on hunger inspires us to problem-solve

Hunger is a problem that can be solved with hope and human innovation, believes farmer and photographer Howard Buffett, son of investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett and the creator of a visiting exhibit documenting world hunger now on display at Louisiana’s Old State Capitol.

“When we booked this exhibit three years ago, who knew that COVID-19 would have such an impact on hunger,” says Old State Capitol Museum Curator Lauren Davis. “Even though this is about global hunger, it’s really relevant considering what we’ve seen in our community.”

Called “40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World,” the exhibit is comprised of photographs Howard Buffett took while traveling the world to document the impact of hunger. It is on loan from the Newseum in Washington, D.C., which was closed to the public at the end of 2019, but still maintains a collection of articles, photos and artifacts related to world events and freedom of the press.

“40 Chances” invites viewers to think deeply about world hunger.
The exhibit was developed by Howard Buffett, one of business tycoon Warren Buffett’s three adult children.

Buffett’s purpose in creating “40 Chances,” as well as its companion book of the same name, was to explore the pervasiveness of world hunger and how it’s influenced by conflict and politics. He invites viewers to think about making a difference, using the title “40 Chances” to refer to the number of years we have to make a difference in the world. It springs from the agricultural notion that a farmer has only about 40 chances, or annual seasons, to be productive.

While photographs showing the faces of hunger’s worldwide impact might seem a departure for a museum documenting Louisiana’s political history, it’s a good example of the intersection of politics and regular life, Davis says.

“Whether we like it or not, politics are part of every single part of our lives, and politics often cause hunger in many parts of the world and are intertwined with conflict,” she says.

Conflict and politics are at the heart of world hunger.
Buffett’s exhibit personalizes the issue of hunger.

A trip to Louisiana’s Old State Capitol makes for an engaging summer activity while the kids are out of school. Along with “40 Chances,” also on display is “Louisiana’s Lionhearted Ladies: Championing the Right to Vote,” celebrating last year’s centennial anniversary of women’s suffrage. And the museum’s permanent collection is an engaging romp through Louisiana’s colorful and influential politics.

Admission to the museum and its exhibits are free. There is a $2 charge for the film Ghost of the Castle, but this is waived if you bring a canned good while seeing “40 Chances.” The exhibit will be displayed until June 26.

Find out more information here.

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