Abou Diallo: “Stay home they say. But if you don’t work you go hungry. So I work and after work I go home.” Alpha Sow: “I don’t understand this virus and I’m afraid. A friend told me that the virus is spinning around us like a chameleon.” Mamadou Diagne: “Times are now difficult for everybody all over the world. There are some who are better off than others and if ever, the time to help each other is now.” Makhtar Niang: “There are scammers who take advantage of others and now God is punishing us all because of it. God alone can save us from viruses.” View on the main market in Sor, Saint-Louis. A Ndiaga Ndiaye bus turning in a street corner. Workmen are having a no-fuzz lunch break with a dish of ceebu jen on Rue Blaise Diagne.
Blaise Abobade: “Did someone create the virus? Did it come from an animal in Wuhan? Was it created in a Chinese laboratory? Is it a complicity of all that? We see a lot of things and we are confused in the head. We just don’t know.” Anne-Marie Nadialine: “This virus has turned the world upside down and brought the whole world to its knees. It is a strong signal that the Lord is giving us to change our behaviors and thoughts and to love one another. It’s a time to repent. ” Elias Seye: “The pandemic is here among us. Oh, brothers, let’s follow the rules and stay home!” Soda Chez Dasso: “This situation is terrible. And times are hard especially for people who work in the tourism sector and in hotels and restaurants. I went to the Minister of Tourism to see how to get financial support that has been talked about so much, they gave me nothing. ” Ibrahima Wagne: “The coronavirus has affected the whole world. Nothing works as before. We are even more affected because we are in a poor country. Poverty was already there, now it’s worsened and currently in Saint-Louis everything is at a standstill, nothing is working. When I come to work, it’s not for work. I’m just doing it out of habit but I expect nothing.” Makha Mbaye: “Covid-19 is evolving too fast, it’s too easy to spread with the handshake. The government has not reacted enough and is giving us nothing. A bag of rice only lasts a short while. Here everything is politicized and that’s why people don’t believe in government communications.” Pikine, Saint-Louis “I thank God and pray that God will protect us all. The corona came to change our habits and reveal the technical, political and administrative defaults of our states as well as the responsibilities of everyone. It’s as if humanity had forgotten the precautions and the corona came to remind us of our mistakes and also about the future of the world. The time has come to respect the global organizations that work for human protection.” Laundry during Covid-19 pandemic. A neighbour picking ripe baobab fruits in Rue Blaise Diagne x Ibnou Diop Wara Talibé. Clémentine Bayel: “My life is here in Saint-Louis, but if I had to leave and live some place else, it would be in Abidjan in Ivory Coast.” Cheihk Tidiane Cherif Diop: “People do not respect God and God punishes everyone for the sins of some. Maybe the virus was created to eliminate us from the world.” Mohammed Bâ: “Don’t forget to wear your mask!” Alley between Rue Blaise Diagne & Quai Roume at seven in the morning. A person is sitting on a bench at the other end by the river. Faidherbe bridge with the northern end of the island at the background. Between the bridges of Moustapha Malick Gaye and Ousmane Masseck Ndiaye at the “Garage” just before the work day starts. Mouhammadou Mbaw: “I dream of going to Touba. Touba is my town.” Haruna Sow: “This blocking of movement of people is sad, it’s hard for the sellers. We’re stuck. With the mask I feel like a horse with a gafaka!” (A bag that is used to feed a horse.) Fatou Kiné Sene: “I hope this ends soon. I’m so fed up with this corona! Really fed up!” View on the main market in Sor, Saint-Louis.
This page shows the work-in-progress of the project that I’m carrying out in a home residency supported by The Kone Foundation. Confined to home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, encounters with people are getting rarer and rarer so I wish to document traces of this strange time by chatting with people both face to face and from distance. I am asking people to talk about their relationship to their hometown and how the pandemic is affecting each and every one of us. They also talk about the city of their dreams.
During this time I will be publishing short video excerpts of these discussions on
Vimeo. People talk in them in French or in Wolof and I will later use this material in video installations in connection with Afropolis with subtitles in English. You can follow updates to this project on this page, in a blog and through social media at Ello. Video excerpts
Mouhammadou Mbaw: “I dream of going to Touba. Touba is my town.”
Anne-Marie Dechamps: “There is a soul in this city, an architectural and human soul. I lived in Africa for a long time and I felt good there right away. The place I love and where I want to end my days is Saint-Louis. There is no other place!
Fatou Kiné Sene: “I adore this island! I love being surrounded by water. I would also like to go to Johannesburg, in a patriotic and African spirit.”
Blaise Abebado: “We must cultivate our land well, it can help us a lot and do us good. Africa is the best – I don’t want to live elsewhere if it is not in Africa.”
Anne-Marie Nadialine: “Even if Senegal is a poor country, we have hospitality. I have traveled to seven European countries but, you see, Senegal is the best, I feel good here!”
Cheihk Tidiane Cherif Diop: “I learnt a lot in Kaolack”
Ibrahima Wagne: “When you look at Saint-Louis you get the impression that it’s taking steps back. We have to modernize the city.”
Afropolis 2020: Streets of Saint-Louis
Saer Diagne: “We need also quiet neighbourhoods.”
Elias Seye: “I hope people would return to Saint-Louis and invest.”
Clémentine Bayel: “The very first Bambara of Saint-Louis live here in Cité Vauvert.”
Khady Fall: “There are a lot of foreigners in Koufa in Nouakchott.”
Afropolis 2020: Streets of Saint-Louis II