In Djola, “olal kanoraku” means “we are together” and is most commonly used in the sense of "You're welcome." The people of Diakene Ouoloff in the Casamance region in Southern Senegal live in a community in the original sense of the word: deeply rooted in their cultural values, they share food, responsibilities, work, they educate and take care of their children together, they organize in generations to maximize social cohesion, they weep and celebrate together, and they welcome strangers as one of theirs.
This project aims to give an insight into just how far-reaching this sense of community is. The photos were taken in 2019 and have not been published since. In 2023, after being delayed for 3,5 years mostly due to the pandemic, I was finally able to fulfill a promise I had made to the villagers and to myself: to bring the photos back to the village before anything else would happen with them. In May 2023, together with the Centre Touristique et Culturel Casamance in Diakene Ouoloff, the photos were exhibited in the village and have been seen and well-received by their protagonists.
A mini-documentary on the project was realized in 2019 by Spanish filmmaker Richard Zalduendo and can be accessed here or at the end of the slides.