Faces of a Resilient Nation
Rwanda, a small-country tucked deep within sub-Saharan Africa, is often discussed in relation to the country’s devastating 1994 genocide. Similarly, the vast majority of the imagery used to depict Rwanda- and the people inhabiting it- tend to orient around genocide-centric atrocity footage.
While these images are relevant to an extent, they’re reductionist; they fail to account for the complexity and nuance of contemporary Rwanda. It’s unsurprisingly a space in transition, seeking healing and reconciliation while still attempting to grapple with an incredibly fresh, traumatic past. As a photographer, I quickly realized the images I shot were not only an honest depiction of my experience, but also a counter-narrative to the dominant atrocity footage.
Over the course of my time in the country, I was constantly accosted by its natural beauty. Known as the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’, the entirety of the country is covered in rolling hills and lush terrain.
Rwanda has developed at an incredible pace in the wake of the genocide, and boasts a cosmopolitan culture in Kigali, and paved roads winding throughout the country. It boasts amazing ecological diversity, from volcanoes in Musanze and the massive Lake Kivu along the Congolese border, to the red clay roads and small villages around Kigali. The natural beauty of Rwanda, however, pales in comparison to the indescribable resiliency of its people. It’s a country of tireless innovation and creativity- one whose history is fundamental, but not exclusive, in shaping the complexity of contemporary Rwanda.
Keep up with Ali during her travels, be sure to visit her website at www.alicampbellphoto.com and follow her @isoscelesclambake on Instagram.rwanda
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