Topic: [The Guardian] The city being swept out to sea: Nicky Quamina-Woo’s best photograph  (Read 251 times)

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The city being swept out to sea: Nicky Quamina-Woo’s best photograph

‘Saint Louis is on the frontline of the climate crisis. Entire rooms in people’s homes are underwater. In a few years, the sea defence this boy is striding along will be engulfed’

This was taken in Senegal near the end of 2018. I was gearing up for a project in neighbouring Mauritania for Reuters, but I wanted to understand the region better before I dived in. I had spent a few years based in west Africa. Where Mauritania can be quite closed off to outsiders and suspicious of photographers, Senegal is much more open. I’d met a lot of people in the Senegalese diaspora in the US, where I grew up, and I’d heard a lot about Saint Louis in the north. It was the capital before Dakar took on that role, and it’s a fascinating testament to the country’s colonial past.

Unlike many colonial projects elsewhere on the continent, the French didn’t attempt to completely repress who the Senegalese were as a people, and the city bears the marks of its complicated history. Much of the old town’s architecture is very French. Lots of mixed race people born of relationships between local women and French soldiers also live in Saint Louis. I was captivated by its history and its present.

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