Richard Lokiden Wani
Photographer Richard Lokiden Wani was born in 1974 at the Ugandan-Kenyan border, and grew up between his mothers, Uganda and his fathers, South Sudan. He became a photographer in 1998, starting his career in the midst of catastrophic famine, and thus lived in the company of western NGO’s. Alike to other South Sudanese photographers, he was taught and greatly influenced by American and Norwegian evangelists who frequented his environment since the war began. For the most part, Wani’s photographs depict church-goers in and around the capital, Juba’s churches and evangelist community centres being his main focal point.
Renowned for his simple way of practice, Wani does not have a studio and carries only his camera, ready to candidly shoot his subjects: either solo or coupled and grouped with family members. His subjects usually sit or stand, their heads held high and exalting, pride overwhelming their individual circumstances and all notion of careful photographic composition. This pride characterizes Wani’s photographs – they are stark, honest depictions of a pride that supersedes all material and monetary frivolity.
Wani’s use of flash photography, even in daylight, creates an ethereal image of humanity. The eyes of his subjects are unwavering, confiding a memoir of life already lived, a vision of life to come. Wani’s works are charismatic, they consist of dreams longed for and actualized - like his own in photography despite lack of formal training. Wani’s photography is an exposé of his own determination and resistance to poverty.
Over the last decade, Wani has exhibited in Ghana and Mali, with numerous group shows in Paris at venues such as Usine Springcourt, Flatteurville, Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière, Confluences, A.F.D and Africultures. In 2006, he exhibited his own collection at the Agence Française de Développement, Paris, paying homage again to his affinity with NGO’s. Wani now currently lives in Juba, the South Sudanese capital, where he continues to practice photography.
Images courtesy of RICHARD LOKIDEN WANI
words HELENE KLEIH
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