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Ghosts of the Sahara

Ghosts of the Sahara

 © Andrew McConnell/Panos Pictures. Above: Chrifa Mohammed Salem, 6, pictured outside her home in Auserd refugee camp, Algeria.

Andrew McConnell’s four-month long project about the Sahrawi Bedouins highlights their struggle while being in exile for thirty-five years from their home in the North African territory of Western Sahara. Chrifa Mohammed Salem (pictured above) says, “I go to school and then I come back and play with my sister. It is very hot, I want it to be cold. I want to be a teacher when I grow up. There is no water here.”

In his portrait series, McConnell includes minimal backgrounds to emphasize that the Sahrawi are landless. He says, “By lighting them simply and in darkness, I am trying to say, ‘Look! These people are here!’ I wanted the viewer to see what I had seen: a people utterly forgotten, abandoned, hidden from the world’s consciousness—a people living as ghosts.” McConnell’s work is currently on view at The Half King gallery in Chelsea.

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