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Between Memory and History


Allan Cedillo Lissner is a freelance documentary photographer specializing in social justice issues.

Born in Denmark to a Danish father and a Philippine-Canadian mother, Allan was raised in Ethiopia, Liberia, USA, Nepal, Lithuania, Denmark, Jordan, Bangladesh, and Canada.

Allan has completed degrees in Visual Studies, Philosophy, and Sociology from the University of Toronto, and in Drawing and Painting from the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD).

As a dedicated visual activist, some of the organizations Allan has done work with include Amnesty International, Currents of Awareness Independent Media, GlobalAware Independent Media, Make Poverty History, Oxfam Canada, the Sierra Club, the UNDP, and the United Nations Women's Association in Bangladesh.


Someone Else’s Treasure [photo essay]

Beneath the 7,107 islands that make up the Philippines lies one of the world’s largest mineral resources. The Philippines is the second largest gold producer in the world (behind only South Africa), and the third largest copper producer. The countries’ mineral wealth is estimated to be somewhere between US$840billion and US$1trillion, but the record of large scale mining in the Philippines is nothing short of disastrous. The social and environmental impacts of these mines have clearly not been a priority to the Philippine government, or to the foreign investors who are profiting from these ventures. The extraction of these treasured metals comes at a high price. People who were already marginalized and living in poverty to begin with are losing what they most treasure: families are being torn apart, livelihoods destroyed, ecosystems ruined, and ancient indigenous cultures eroded. These pictures tell the stories of some of the people whose lives have been affected by the mining industry. Three different provinces are visited: Benguet, Marinduque, and Oriental Mindoro. In Benguet, Lepanto Consolidated has been operating a gold mine since 1995. Canadian mining company Ivanhoe Mines holds shares of Lepanto. Marinduque was the site of the worst industrial disaster in Philippine history, where Canadian company Placer Dome operated a copper mine for thirty years. In Oriental Mindoro, Canadian Crew Minerals, who have recently relocated to Norway and changed their name to Intex Resources, has been attempting to open up a nickel mine despite local opposition. Canada, home to about sixty percent of the world’s mining corporations, leads the way in the global mining industry, however some critics have labeled the mining industry as Canada’s number one contribution to global injustice. As the industry continues to shape the world we all live in, it is the hardships endured by men, women, and children like this that make our way of life possible.



2002-2006  Drawing and Painting (Faculty of Art Diploma Program) OCAD
1998-2002  B.A. Hons., Visual Studies and Philosophy University of Toronto


2007            A Potential Toronto The Toronto Free Gallery
                    Photo essay depicting the housing crisis in Toronto
2007            One World The Toronto Free Gallery
                    Curator and participant in GlobalAware photo exhibit
2006            Resistance is Fertile The Rivoli, Toronto
                    Curator and participant in GlobalAware photo exhibit
2006            Struggle Oxfam Canada [Contact Photography Festival]
                    Solo photography exhibit portraying the struggles of
                    daily life in Dhaka, Bangladesh
2006            Because Everything is Political! [Contact] GlobalAware, Toronto
2005            World Without War Arts Festival Artists Against War, Toronto
2004            United Nations Development Program, Dhaka, Bangladesh
                    Photo essay on display in UNDP Country Office in Bangladesh