© Mimi Mollica, The Syngenta Photography Award 2013
It is not always acknowledged that development is a disruptive, sometimes irrational, process. My portrait of a changing Dakar spotlights these aspects. My pictures document a disquieting scenery where the urban sprawl advances relentlessly, offering variegated combinations of cement, laterite and people involved in an intense socio-economic transition. This transition includes a new highway that rips though the centre of Dakar and leads to Senegalese hinterland where a thirsty countryside spreads as far as the eye can see.
In Senegal, this difficult task has the texture of concrete and the smell of smoky asphalt struggling to conquer the sand. I photographed this project for four months between 2007 and the end of 2008. In 2011 the thirty-four-kilometre motorway was completed with new roundabouts, interchanges, viaducts and bridges. The engineer of this vast infrastructure is a ‘slimmed-down’ state that is still trying to pursue a 1960s development dream.
Dakar is now a huge, surreal building site. The Senegalese relate to the new road, and its promises, in many ways. Basically, they adjust to it by seeking their space in a changing environment. While some people have directly occupied the new space, others reinvent a daily living at its margins. Finally, while all around people bargain, build, chat, do the laundry, have a rest, play, run, walk and wait, some also find a sandy corner to unroll their small carpet and engage in a five-minute dialog with God.
Although “development” is generally referred to as a positive step forward towards “civilization”, disruption and insecurity characterize the capital as it undergoes this transition.
What my portrait suggests is the very centre of an open question: are the inhabitants being crushed and swept away by this complex transition or are they slowly taking possession of the new space?
Mimi Mollica (Palermo, Sicily 1975) has covered assignments in a number of different countries like Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Sicily, Great Britain, Brazil, India, Romania and Senegal, West Africa, photographing current events and in-depth photo essays.
His work has been published in various magazines and newspapers such as The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Financial Times Weekend Magazine, The New York Times Lens, Newsweek Japan, Sunday Times Magazine, Internazionale, Polka, Granta Magazine, D di Repubblica, Marie Claire and COLORS Magazine among many others.
As well as being assigned from magazines and NGOs, Mimi works in length on his personal projects, some of which have been exhibited at Les Rencontres D’Arles 2011, London Street Photography 2011, Contributed Gallery, Berlin 2010, Jerwood Space, London 2010, Milk Gallery, New York City and Third Floor Gallery, Cardiff 2010 and European Parliament, Strasbourg 2009 just to mention the highlights.
|Shortlist – Terry O’Neill Award|
Honourable Mention – Deeper Perspective, IPA Awards
Winner – Renaissance Photography Award – Expression Category
Winalist – Palm Springs Photo Festival Slide Show Contest
|Creator of PHOTOWRAP, online documentary photography workshop|
Permanent Collection of The Museum of London acquisition
Winner (photo essay / reportage) – PDN Curator Awards
|Winner – EP Guest Photographer|
Honourable Mention – Magenta Flash Forward ‘09
||Finalist – Sovereign European Art Prize|
|Winner – Creative Review, Best Photography Annual|
Finalist – The Press Photographers Year
Part of the 1st London Magnum Masterclass Workshop
||Winner 2nd Place – The Observer Photographic Hodge Award|
En Route To Dakar – Ragusa Foto Festival, Sicily 2012
En Route To Dakar – European Parliament, Strasbourg 2009
Lecture on Social Reportage, One World Week, University of Warwick, January 2007
Seminar/Presentation, Various Projects, SOAS University, November 2006
Marginal Brazil, Latin American Film Festival, London November 2005
Evolving Brazil, at Guanabara Bar, London March 2005
Hackney: worth a closer look, in Zedland House London November 2004
Un Tocco di Kalsa, Spasimo, Palermo July 2000
Selected Collective Exhibitions
“Terry O’Neill Award” – The Strand Gallery 2013
“Ten Paths To The Future” – Imago Art Gallery 2012
“Contemporary Street Photography” – London Photography Festival 2012
“Renaissance Photography Prize” London’s Mall Galleries, June 2012
“Seen/Unseen” Mimi Mollica & George Georgiou - London, July 2011
“From Here On”
Les Rencontres D’Arles 2011, July 2011
“Street Photography Now” Studio for the Arts - Berlin, December 2010
“Street Photography Now”
Gallery Lichtblick - Cologne, December 2010
“This Must Be The Place”
Jerwood Visual Arts, November 2010
“Street Photography Now”
Third Floor Gallery - Cardiff, October 2010
“PDN Curator Awards”
MILK Gallery - New York, August 2010
“Storie in 3 Scatti”
Camera 16 Contemporary Art - Milan, June 2010
“Facce da Straniero”
Museo Regionale - Torino, March 2010
“Sovereign European Art Prize”
Somerset House - London, October 2008
“Photsoc” Festival of Social Photography
Sarcelles - Paris, September 2008
“Mediterraneo” The Italian Cultural Institute, London Jan 2008
“The Observer Hodge Photographic Award” The Newsroom Nov-Jan 2006
“Sometimes Words Are Too Slow” (Forum), Proud Central, London July 2004
“En-field Cultural Mapping” Forty Hall, Enfield March 2004
Books Collective Participative
In The Life Of Cities – Harvard University – Lars Muller Publishers
Street Photography Now – Thames & Hudson
London Street Photography – Museum of London / Dewi Lewis