Onafuwa’s angels among men exhibition tackles discrimination against albinos
Visual artist and documentary photographer based in Lagos, Damilola Onafuwa, in partnership with Onome Akinlolu Majaro (OAM) Foundation, recently held his first solo exhibition titled Angels Among Men.
The art show was aimed at tackling misconceptions about people living with albinism at White Space, Lagos.
The exhibition explores the special character of pale-skinned, light haired, rose-coloured or blue-eyed people, otherwise known as albinos, and to redress the socio-cultural stigmatization they suffer, not just in Nigeria, but on the African continent.
While speaking at the exhibition, Onafuwa said the show was a long-term photography project, which explores the lives of albinos in Nigeria and how they thrive in spite of the lack of melanin in their skin and the stereotypes associated with it in most parts of Africa.
According to him, “The prevalence rate of albinism is ranked among the highest in the world with an estimated figure of over two million albinos living in the country.
Albinism in Africa carries a negative connotation and comes with discrimination, killings for rituals, rejection and abductions. We seek to educate and inspire people with the truth about albinism, debunk myths as well as celebrate people living with albinism, that in spite of the negativity associated with them, they can live above it and make good and comfortable living for themselves.
“We met a lot of myths and cultural things on ground as we were born and we didn’t question things. We just went with the crowd. We are passing a message of love to the people to love everyone as they love themselves.
While I was growing up, I was among those who made jest of albinos, who ran after them and sang songs of mockery. But today I seek to correct that and show that albinos are people with flesh and blood just like anyone else.”
Majaro, who is an albino, noted that growing up, as an albino is something she would give glory to God for because she had a loving mother who instilled self-esteem in her.
“Growing up, living with albinism wasn’t so bad for me because I had the love and support from my family,” she said. “My mother is a very strong person in my life and she stood by me all the while. We are taking this medium to reach out to albinos to maximise their full potential and to show the good they are made of.”
Majaro reiterated that the foundation has done a lot for albinos like giving out scholarships, paying for extramural classes among other assistance. She pledged to continue to do more.
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