November 26, 2010
“Life in Lake Turkana” Living Pictures of a Disappearing Culture
An exhibit by Giulio D’Ercole at Alliance Francaise
Opening December 1st at 6 pm, showing from December 1st to December 17th
“Life on Lake Turkana” shots were taken in November 2009. This photo exhibition is part of reportage on one of the most remote, beautiful and biologically as well as culturally unique spots of our planet. The photographs exposed powerfully confront us with a heart-freezing reality: what we see it is not only a reportage on people living on one of the harshest environment in Africa, but it also might be the last glimpse into a unique and peaceful symbiosis between two Kenyan tribes, the fishermen El Molo and the pastoralists Turkana. These two tribes have established in the course of centuries a co-existence based on mutually benefiting trade. Today this achievement and the very existence of the two tribes are confronted with the possibility of a dramatic environmental disaster related to the negative effects of the construction of the Gilgel Gibe III dam in Ethiopia.
According to several studies, this dam will drastically reduce the flow of water from the Omo River to the lake Turkana resulting in a dramatic drop of its lake level. As a result the salinity of water will drastically increase, altering the biological equilibrium amongst fish and plant species living in the lake.
A depleted lake Turkana – the major source of life in this arid and semi-arid harsh environment – will become source of death and dangerous social effects, resulting in the disruption of the harmonious socio-economical co-existence of the pastoralist and fishermen living along its shores.
Conflicts and forced migration are then likely scenarios determined by economic interests that ignore human costs and undermine cultural and environmental wealth and diversity.
This is a course of events that humanitarian national and international organizations, as much as everybody else, should try to correct or at least mitigate.
It is our responsibility to guard human heritage.
Giulio D’Ercole is a photographer and filmmaker born in Rome, Italy in 1961. Since 1989 Giulio works internationally in Media. In 2003 he moved to Kenya and, captivated by the unique and unprecedented interplay of the social and geographical features of this region of the world, decided to stay and witness the living history of Africa by establishing a company, Canvas Africa Productions, devoted to producing photography and documentaries on humanitarian projects, social issues but most of all on people and their lives.