Room 03: ARTistic and ARTisanal

Wall: Big Dreams: Life Built on Gold


Big Dreams: A Life Built on Gold. Photos by Nii Obodai, photographer and Director of Nuku Studios.

Gold is almost never what miners want. Gold is a conduit for achieving their big dreams: a big house, school fees, artistic endeavors, a new life abroad, or a stable income. Portraits of gold miners focus on suffering, inferiority, and disconnectedness. Rarely are their lives documented as they are, driven by desires universal to everyone. For some, the big dream feels like a mirage they can see but not reach. For others, the big dream morphs into a new one, once the previous dream comes true. This project documented the individual journeys to their dreams. It was a collaboration with Chinese journalist, Yiting Sun. Initially, it was the gold trade, rather than the Trans-Atlantic slave trade that provided the drive to build the imposing forts and castles along the shores of Ghana in the 1500s and 1600s. I started working on this project in the immediate aftermath of a government crackdown on illegal gold miners in Ghana in June 2013. The crackdown followed conflict between local and Chinese miners, whom the government ordered from the country.

Next Wall:
ARTistic and ARTisanal
New Dreams: Imagining Gold Lives