We are living in an era where African people migrating to Europe are considered just numbers. Over recent years newspapers have reported daily how many migrants have arrived on the shore of Sicily, how many have died and how many are kept in camps on the Lybian coasts. In an increasing xenophobic wave crossing all over Europe and USA, Westerners seem to have forgotten the humanity behind the numbers. Few are interested in the stories of the migrants, their previous role in society, the reason why they decided to leave their country.
The photographic project People of Tamba, composed of 200 pictures, aims to create a typological catalogue of the society of Tambacunda the largest city in the country’s most internal and rural region and point of departure for most of the Senegalese migrants.
Inspiration for the project is the work People of the Twentieth Century by the German photographer August Sander. A series of portraits of real individuals and their roles within German society just before the rise of the Nazi regime.
We chose to publicly display the portraits of People of Tamba in the street, within a site-specific installation of public art, pasting 2 by 3 meters prints on the walls of the Medina of Dakar. Thanks to this open-air exhibition during the last year Biennale of Art, the actual inhabitants of Dakar could freely appreciate the portraits, as they would go about their daily business, and mirror themselves in a dignified depiction of their own society.
After Dak’Art 2018, the project was successfully installed in Paris on the Esplanade des Invalides during the Nuit Blanche 2018. The project was presented also in Florence for Black History Month Festival at Fondazione Studio Marangoni. People of Tamba was also exhibited on the walls of the Medina of Marrakech from the 21th of February 2019 as part of the public programme of 1-54, Contemporary African Art Fair, presented by MACAAL, Musée d’Art Contemporain Africain Al Maaden.