Fazal Sheikh A Sense of Common Ground

1 nuova

Ajoh Achot and Achol Manyen, Sudanese refugee camp, Lokichoggio, Kenya, 1992

2 nuova

Akuot Nyibol (pregnant, center) with Riak Warabek and Akuot’s daughter, Athok Duom, who is recovering from malaria, Sudanese refugee camp, Lokichoggio, Kenya, 1992

3 nuova

Miriam Mac and Agot Anyang playing ‘bao’, Sudanese refugee camp, Kakuma, Kenya, 1992

6 nuova

Peter Shan (unaccompanied minor), Sudanese refugee camp, Kakuma, Kenya, 1992

007-WilliamGai

William Gai and Peter Deng (unaccompanied minors), Sudanese refugee camp, Lokichoggio, Kenya, 1992

009-BoranaWidows

Borana war widows Dakie Galma Sora and Dira Wako Guyo, Ethiopian refugee camp, Walda, Kenya, 1993

010-BoranaWarWidow

Borana war widow, Darmi Halake Gilo, Ethiopian refugee camp, Walda, Kenya, 1993

011-ToniMatayo

Tony Matayu with caged Kambuna birds, Mozambican refugee camp, Nyamithuthu, Malawi, 1994

012-AbiriBande

Mozambican elder, Dotizhi Tenfar, with section leader, Abiri Bande, Mozambican refugee camp, Nyamithuthu, Malawi, 1994

013-TBA_NyirbahireEsteri

Traditional birthing attendant, Nyirabahire Esteri, holding newborns Nsabimana (“I beg something from God”) and Mukanzabonimpa (“God will grant me, but I don’t know when”), flanked by mothers Kanyange, Mukabatazi, and Mukabatazi’s mother, Rwandan refugee camp, Lumasi, Tanzania, 1994

014-Wezemana

Wezemana (“God is great”) with her brother Mitonze, Rwandan refugee camp, Lumasi, Tanzania, 1994

015-LukelatabarasFamily

Lukelatabaru’s (“One who was born to make war”) family, Rwandan refugee camp, Lumasi, Kenya, 1994

016-Ndimwabahari

Ndimwabahari (“One who was born with milk and cattle”) wounded by a Rwandan Patriotic Front bullet, Rwandan refugee camp, Lumasi, Tanzania, 1994

 

In 1991 and 1992, refugees from the wars in Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia flooded into Kenya, where a number of camps along the eastern border had been set up to receive them. In Malawi, there were camps for those escaping war in Mozambique. And in 1994, after the genocide in Rwanda, 250,000 people had crossed the border in a single day and were living in vast refugee camps in Tanzania. Between 1992 and 1994, Fazal Sheikh worked among these refugee communities and began to learn about their experiences. It was here that he first witnessed the lightning visits of international photojournalists, who grabbed their stories and left in less than 24 hours. ‘I remembered watching them working and feeling a sense of unease, an inability to follow along and make the expected photographs,’ he said later. He decided to remain in the camps for extended periods, asking the elders for permission to invite their people to sit for a portrait. The portraits he made in those first months in Kenya established a way of working that has remained fundamentally the same ever since: a simple, direct, respectful rendering of one person, or a group, in front of the camera. Later, he would include landscapes, still-lifes and found portraits, as well as personal testimonies and his own narratives. But the portrait remained at the core of his work. In 1996, this work resulted in his first book, A Sense of Common Ground (Scalo, 1996).

 

All images © courtesy of Fazal Sheikh

www.fazalsheikh.org