‘Exploring Transformations to Sustainability in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM)’ is a 4-year transdisciplinary research project (2018-2022) that examines whether and how societal transformations towards sustainable mining futures are possible in ASGM. It brings together a multi-national team conducting empirical research in Brazil, Suriname, French Guiana, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Guinea Conakry, and Uganda. The core team includes researchers from different disciplines, artists, and a community development practitioner. Closely linked are miners and community members who work with the Team.
Project activities include research with miners to understand how they see the future and sustainability in gold mining. This has involved photography, painting and sculpture to find ways to express people’s lives and futures in mining.
At the start, the intention was to have an exhibition that could travel and ‘pop-up’ in mining communities, including artwork created in these communities to stimulate debate about gold mining. Photos show how the exhibition began like this in Kejetia, northern Ghana, in January 2020. However, the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to plans for the exhibition to pop up in other communities or countries. Now it pops-up virtually as the Exhibition Gold Matters. The Exhibition takes the audience down on a journey moving from ‘Exhibition of the Exhibition in Kejetia’ to visual results from all the three regions organized around the themes: Co-labouring, ARTistic and ARTisanal, In-depth terrains, Gold Lifeways and Moving Matters.
The exhibition includes work by the photographer Nii Obodai and images by the painter Christophe Sawadogo. All the other visual materials result from research collaborations, often involving members of mining communities. We have taken care over consent; also, in order to protect individuals, names of people and places are not always specified.
The exhibition is a collaborative effort of the Team and members of mining communities. The Gold Matters Team would like to acknowledge gratitude to the miners and community members who have made this exhibition possible.
Principal curator: Sabine Luning
Art Direction and Graphic Design: Rose van Zijl
Web development: Niels Hofsteenge
Gold Matters is supported financially by the Belmont Forum and NORFACE Joint Research Programme on Transformations to Sustainability, co-funded by DLR/BMBF, ESRC, FAPESP, ISSC, NWO, VR, and the European Commission through Horizon 2020. Grant number: 462.17.201.
Project lead: Eleanor Fisher
Eleanor Fisher and Cristiano Lanzano, Nordic Africa Institute, Sweden. Sabine Luning and Esther van de Camp, University of Leiden, The Netherlands. Marjo de Theije, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Lúcia da Costa Ferreira, Jorge Calvimontes, Luciana Massaro, Januária Pereira Mello, and Raíssa Resende de Moraes, NEPAM, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. Giorgio de Tomi and Carlos Henrique Xavier Araujo, Universidade de São Paulo, Centre for Responsible Mining, Brazil. Ronald Twongyirwe, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Uganda. Margaret Tuhumwire, Environmental Women for Action in Development, Uganda. Mr Christophe Sawadogo, Independent artist, Burkina Faso. Mr Nii Obodai, Nuku Studios, Ghana. Alizèta Ouedraogo, Luigi Arnaldi di Balme, Romain Ronceray, Institute for Social Research in Africa, Burkina Faso. Lorenzo D’Angelo, University of Reading, United Kingdom. Robert Pijpers, University of Hamburg, Germany
The following people have worked with the Team and contributed to the exhibition:
In Uganda: Annede Monica, Richard Kidega, Upton Muwagira, Clara Atuhaire, Christine and Innocent Babweteera. In Ghana: Mabel Senaa Bonsuuri (NUKU Studio), Zakari Imrana, Lamisi Yaliwaa, Haruna Bashiru, Benjamin Ampiah, Ebenezer Mannah, Anthony Acquah, Israel Ampiah, Bonsa Basic Academy, Kejetia, Ghana: Teacher Alfred King Sharpston, Sheila Danka, Stephen Sawalbi, Beatrice Annor Mensah. In Guinea Conakry: Nfaly Diama and Moussa Koné. In Suriname: Maria do Socorro Nascimento, Ramon Linisi Finkie, Gio Benny Lato.
Photographers name list ⟶