Exhibition from Hakim Tahi,
as part of the 12X12 Festival
Opening on Tuesday 12 December 2023 from 6.30 pm to 9.30 pm
Through this series, Hakim Tahi offers his view of a reality that concerns hundreds of children, women and families in Guinea-Conakry, struggling to survive in a parallel economy.
The first are gold diggers. They dig the mud from the rivers, a sedimentary deposit that they sift to recover dust from the precious metal.
The others are ragpickers. They wander around the open-air rubbish dumps, sorting through the rubbish with the aim of recovering what can still be salvaged.
Through the informal and precarious activity of those who work on these sites, the photographer brings together two opposing worlds of our consumer societies:
gold, the ancestral symbol of purity and wealth, and waste, the disposable material, the residue that we abandon because it no longer has any value in our eyes.
Yet when we compare these two opposing worlds, some undeniable similarities emerge. The first concerns the very nature of the task,
which is to embrace an inhospitable environment in the hope of finding a ‘nugget’. The second concerns the locations, which confront us with two ecological disasters.
Gold-panning results in irreparable soil pollution, and open-air landfill sites pollute the air and the soil, and bear witness to our modern society’s inability to manage the waste it produces. Finally, the third concerns human beings, who are the systematic collateral victims. Hakim Tahi captures the evidence of extremely difficult working conditions. The faces are smudged, the hands worn, the looks intense, but as is often the case on this continent, smiles and even laughter are not far away.
“Gold and Dust” reveals human strength in the midst of adversity.