Exploring audio-visual methods of storytelling within local communities has interested me for a long time. In January 2013, I went to a small village in south-western Nigeria to run the Ikakumo photography project with help from Adesoji Olusi and Sophie Salffner. It aimed to involve school children more actively in the ongoing language and culture documentation project conducted by Sophie. The exhibition of their photographs was launched in SOAS (London) during Endangered Languages Week 2013. Following the showcase at PICS Festival at Rich Mix (London), the exhibition travelled to the West African Linguistics Conference 2013 at the University of Ibadan (Nigeria), before returning to Irepodun Comprehensive High School in Ikakumo.
You can see students’ work here.
One of the Saturdays I accompanied my students to the river where they do their weekly laundry, bathe, make fire, cook rice and yam, gather and crack kola nuts, try catching fish and rabbits, swim, fight and play till they run out of steam. I observed the freedom they don’t seem to have in the village, the happiness and the beauty of their adolescent relationships.
Spending some time in Ikakumo allowed me to make a connection with the local people. Without this, it would have been impossible to gain their trust and for them to let me photograph their lives. Here is a snapshot of how I saw life there.