The title for the series, We Danced, comes from a few moments when I was standing by “Daniel’s mother” as she husked the maize that would help support the family until the next crop was ready for harvesting. We spoke and laughed in fragmented English as we did whenever we saw each other on my visits to the village. But this time, spontaneously, she took my hand and started to dance. Even though our lives were different, and I could never truly understand life from her perspective, it was as if she had accepted me as a friend. The following winter, Daniel’s mother died suddenly; this would be the last time I saw her.
This work is about an exploration, as an outsider, of parts of life in Africa. It comes from wandering endlessly through streets, alleys, and along dusty paths; and entering abandoned buildings, and being invited into peoples’ homes. At times, it means standing back, waiting, and watching and at other times, interacting with those who I have encountered along the way. These are moments that resonate with me on this journey.
Ideally, the work will show another dimension to the humanity of the people who live in these cities and villages. Our media tends to focus on poverty, civil war, and corruption or on the exotic, yet there are common threads that bridge cultures and geography. At times this is reflected in peoples’ demonstration of faith and in how they sustain themselves. Hopefully, this dimension is shown here and helps the viewer to see more than what is commonly shared.
This is an ongoing project that I started in 2011 on my first trip to Sicily to photograph the Holy Week Processions. Since then, I have traveled to Sicily and now, Naples, seven times. The title, Kingdoms, comes from the period of 1815-1860 when Naples and Sicily were referred to as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.