In connection with the current collective exhibition The Ocean of Tuonela (18 June – 31 July) where my series of portraits on fish skin and prints from the series Guet Ndaru Mool are on show, here is another short series of photographs in the same spirit. This particular series is called Nappkat, which means simply “Fisherman” in Wolof and which I had made already earlier in 2018.
I thought I had come to an end photographing the lives of fishermen in Saint-Louis but it seems that I may well keep working on that theme in some other ways, as documenting life where I live is what I do. I am soon starting a new long term project with photography and sound on urban environment and Saint-Louis being very much urban, fishermen will evidently be part of the project, one way or another.
I am very happy to be part of this upcoming photo exhibition organized by Fondation Dapper under the title Vivre !
My series Guet Ndaru Mool is a photo essay with portraits that I have produced on fish skin. They represent a community of fishermen who, as a result of climate change, coastal erosion and rising sea levels, are losing their homes and jobs in a world in which the entire traditional and small-scale fishing and fish processing are at stake. These portraits are accompanied by witnessing voices by the persons involved, telling that all this is happening now.
Three of my portraits from this series are on show in Gorée, and the entire series includes a video with talks by the fishermen involved in the project.
I was a fisherman in Nouadhibou since 1995 so for 11 years. For a year I was an apprentice captain and for a year I worked as a captain first at 30 km, then 200 km from the coast. My brother-in-law owned a six-meter boat with a four-horse machine. The time I spent in Nouadhibou meant only danger. Every year there are many people who die at the intersection of the river and the ocean and for example when you throw a net you can also get killed. There are so many risks, you can easily lose your hand. When you fish in the night it’s dark and you do not even know if someone falls into the water and drowns. And when you catch a lot of fish, the boat fills up too much and overturns. There are too many dangers. There is also exploitation. Fishing requires strength, luck and speed. If you do not have them, you can perish. I experienced all this and I saw people die before my eyes. When I returned I stopped. After my return I learned that there is also other work than fishing. (M. Dieng)
The exhibition Vivre !presents 34 photographs of resilience, or the “art of navigating between torrents .” The incredible capacity of human beings to cope with a difficult situation is thus approached in four sub-themes related to Africa and its diasporas: the social approach, the environment, the questioning and theexile.Through the prism of their objective, the selected artists question the contemporary world and its evolution.Each of them offer us in their own way while resonating with each other a reading of the current society that transcends borders.
The exhibition presents works of 15 photographers living in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean or the Indian Ocean: Christian Barbé, Karim Barka, Philippe Gaubert, Moussa Kalapo, Fototala King Massassy, Ziad Naitaddi, Zacharie Ngnogue and Chantal Edie, Jarmo Pikkujämsä, JulieRobineau, Rolook, Saan, Zara Samiry, Hamed Traore and Pierre Vanneste.