SUN, NOT SALT - PHmuseum


Ayomitunde Adeleke

2019 - Ongoing


This project focuses on the effect of climate change on people living with albinism (PWA) in Nigeria and also the myth and stereotypes associated with albinos eating salt. With each passing day, climate change is becoming more than just a verbal phenomenon and it has affected people across the world in various ways. In Nigeria, the heat wave has reached unbearable levels on several occasions and the rainy season cannot clearly be juxtaposed from the dry season. The ripple effects of climate change is affecting a sect of people greatly. Persons living with albinism are dying at an alarming rate due to the deteriorating weather conditions emanating from the global climate change which makes them find life extremely difficult, as they cannot stand high temperatures.

There is a huge miseducation on how to live with albinism and due to a high rate of illiteracy around the country, several myths regarding people living with albinism are often spread. One of them is the consumption of salt. Many Nigerians believe persons living with albinism should not consume salty foods, because it is believed to cause the proliferation of dark spots all over the albino skin, this is a myth because it is scientifically false albinos can consume salt. Symptoms caused by extreme heat wave are mostly misinterpreted as symptoms gotten from eating salt. While sticking with this misinformation, the affected albino dies. I want my deftness at handling the unjustly segregated group to show that albinism is not what it has been made out to be - a construct. That the lack of melanin is not an impediment. I want people to understand that it is always preferable to discuss the matter of albinism in a non-judgmental way. I want the world to understand the climate change in recent time has not been favorable to people living with albinism. tells a story of people who live their lives against the myth molded by people, against the change that is happening with the environment, against the myth from eating salt and the heat of the sun.

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  • Victoria lost 2 siblings to skin cancer, her brother and sister were exposed to harsh sunlight everyday due to nature of their jobs. This could have been avoided because symptoms were detected early but the family thought it was a spiritual attack and some thought was because they had salt in their meal. They were later taken to the hospital where they were properly diagnosed with skin cancer unfortunately it was too late.

  • Kolawole, died from skin cancer he works at the Nigeria aviation, due to the nature of his job he was exposed excessively to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. He had a swollen eye which was was thought to be a result of consumption of salt or spiritual attack. First symptoms are usually sun burns, with every sun burn there is DNA damage, with a repeated DNA damage the skin can no longer repair itself which develops into solar keratoses after which a Bowen’s diseases is developed or a Jacobs ulcer. Basal cell carcinoma eats the skin on one spot and doesn’t spread.

  • Victoria misses kola her brother the most, because he was the closest to her and they shared a lot of things in common. While growing up he protected her against bullies and people that made fun of her because of her skin color, she was called "oyinbo pepper pepper" ( white girl) while growing up in her words " I miss him so much , he was everything to me i miss him".

  • Adedoyin (30) , Victoria's elder sister went through the same fate her brother went through as she passes on July 4, 2012 . She was so close to their mum and was deeply loved by the family , after the death of kolawole their mum was so depressed and sad due to this she wasn't told about adedoyin's death till date "she's old, i fear the worst will happen if she knows" she said. While having conversations with Victoria at home we had to speak quietly about the death of her sister because her mom was in the next room and she could hear about her conversation.

  • Daniel is a friend of the family and checks up on victoria regularly to keep her company. Daniel complained of some skin rashes while victoria looked out to see if it was sun burn because she's more enlightened. She commended him for also protecting himself from sun rays by putting on well covered clothes and a nice hat.

  • Victoria discussing with daniel after a visit. Albinos need to protect themselves if they have to be out in the sun by wearing covered clothes, gloves, hats, caps and most especially apply sun protector lotion and sunscreen. Due to low standard of living, most of them can't afford sunscreen or sun protection lotion.

  • Daniel stays in a shade while he waits to see a friend that was going into surgery at the Lagos teaching hospital at Lasuth. Her eyes were to be inoculated because the cancer had damaged one of the eye tissues.

  • Onome Majaro is the founder of OAM foundation, she created a group that are passionately committed to ending the discrimination against people living with albinism. Her focus is to stimulate a movement that roots out socio-cultural stereotypes about albinism in Nigeria and the world at large, also empower people living with albinism.
    " I would love to advise a dark skinned person to try and understand that albinism is not a curse nor a disease, it's just genetics, all we want is to be loved and respected equally" she advised people living with albinism to do the needful in taking care of themselves by taking preventive measures and staying safe as possible they can.

  • Coco is a model, writer and designer. she loves to explore different fashion styles regardless of her skin color . " I dreamt about modeling and being on TV, and walking on runways. I never thought any of it would actually happen, but here I am watching my dreams come true. We have come some way, but there is still so much more to be done. This is me saying I'm here - to teach, help, and love - no matter what. I'm still standing strong."