No Idling - Kenya
Nearly half of Nairobi, Kenya’s three million residents live in one of over 60 ‘informal settlements’. The neighbourhood of Kibera, originally settled by a group called the Nubians in 1904, is one of the largest informal urban communities in the world. Infrastructure and services, including water, sanitation, electricity, health services, education, and law enforcement are lacking, making Kibera a difficult place for people to live in. The lack of employment opportunities and thereby resources, often leads to people having no choice but to 'idle' or pass time, waiting for any semblance of opportunity.
Mike Davis from Planet of Slums says it best; “Out of unhealthy, crowded and often dangerous environments can emerge cultural movements and levels of solidarity unknown in the suburbs of the rich”.
Stepping into Kibera for the first time I was immediately fascinated by the ingenuity of its residents. Kiberans are masters at overcoming adversity through resourcefulness, creativity and by placing an unprecedented value on the role of community in individual survival.
Through this work I hope to celebrate these amazingly resilient people. The conditions of poverty in Kibera prevent most from attaining what people in developed countries would rate as acceptable standards of living but the disadvantages do not stop them. The energy, talent and ingenuity, of young people in Kibera, an environment that presents so many obstacles, especially inspire me.
Photographs made in 2013, 2014, and 2017.
Images from 2014 were made possible with the help of the Toronto Arts Council.
In October 2017 I revisited the informal settlements of Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, leading up to, during, and following the controversial presidential re-run elections.