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An archive of inspiration, negotiating the world through artistic intervention

Pascal Meunier: Damascus, Syria (1997)

~remembering Damascus during peace time~

Rene Burri
Casamance (Oussouye village) Young Diola boy with shells woven into his hair
Casamance (Oussouye village) Young Diola boy with shells woven into his hair
Abbas: Touba, Senegal (1988). 

Abbas: Touba, Senegal (1988). 


Afghanistan 2014: Presidential and Provincial Council Elections

A series of photographs showing preparations for Presidential and Provincial Council elections as well as enthusiastic Afghans waiting to vote at polling centers. In some remote areas, donkeys are used to transport ballot boxes to villages unreachable by vehicles. 

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Photographs by Ahmad Masood, Massoud Hossaini, Ahmad Nadeem, Mohammad Ismail and Rahmat Gul. Click on each photo for source.

Guillaume Collanges: The Maldives : A Nation at the Water’s Edge 

Inhabitants of the Maldives, threatened by rising sea levels brought on by global warming, are worried. Will they be among the 150 million climate refugees predicted by international experts by the end of the century? Will they have to seek refuge in India, Sri Lanka, or Australia? The solution may not be so far away. A huge artificial island intended to deal with overpopulation in the capital, Malé, is now under construction. The island, named Hulhumalé, may prefigure the future of the Maldives. An estimated 150,000 persons will live on Hulhumalé by 2040, but 2,000 are already living there. Among them are Mariyam, Hanan and their six children. From the fifth floor of their brand-new apartment building, they watched the tsunami of December 26, 2005 crash over Hulhumalé. “That day,” says Mariyam, “like all Maldivians, we realized how dangerous the sea can be, even though it’s usually so calm for us.” With the rising water and the resulting erosion of the coasts, younger generations of Maldivians will have to live with that feeling of danger. And the phenomenon will only be accelerated, since the coral barrier reef – the natural levee that protects the islands from the onslaught of the waves – will probably not be able to resist rapid increases in the temperature of the water.

Shiva Araghi: Camp in the Clouds (via brownbook)

Jangal-e Abr, Iran’s ‘Cloud Forest’ (also featuring one very chill goat).

 Jonas Bendiksen: Far From Home; Guest Workers of the Gulf

This photo essay explores the world of guest workers in the arab Gulf oil states such as United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait. While marketing itself as luxury playgrounds of tourism and business, close to 90% of UAE and Qatar’s population are foreign workers. Most of these workers come from far poorer nations such as India, Bangladesh, Philippines and Nepal, and the workers often endure very difficult employment and living conditions. Many of the workers take up big loans in their home countries in order to get to the middle east but then struggle to pay the debt in order to gain any profits. Oftentimes parents will leave their homes and children for a decade or more to try to build up savings for their family back home, putting a big strain on family relations. 

The World Bank estimates that the yearly sum of global remittances (the money being sent home by foreign guest workers) amounts to more than double all official foreign aid globally. 

Foreign guest workers therefore have a formidable economic impact, but often at a high personal cost.

Mimi Mollica - En Route To Dakar (via lensculture)

Artist Statement

In Senegal, the difficult task of development has the texture of concrete and the smell of smoky asphalt struggling to conquer the sand. I photographed this project for four months between 2007 and the end of 2008. In 2011, the thirty-four kilometer motorway was completed with new roundabouts, interchanges, viaducts and bridges. Behind these grandiose schemes is a ‘slimmed-down’ state — a government still chasing 1960s development dreams.

Dakar has become a huge, surreal building site. The Senegalese relate to the new road, and its promises, in many ways. While some people have directly occupied the new space, others reinvent their own form of daily living at its margins. All around people bargain, build, chat, do the laundry, have a rest, play, run, walk, wait. Some find a sandy corner to unroll their small carpet and engage in the five-minutes dialog with God.

Although “development” is generally referred to as a positive step forward towards “civilization”, disruption and insecurity characterize the capital as it undergoes this transition.