2019 - 2020

Lagos, Nigeria

Waste embodies displacement, there is little disparity globally when it comes to the spatial distribution of waste scattered around. As we discard our waste, we play a role in setting the stage for certain demographics of displaced people.

This series explores a unique way of living through the reconstruction of one’s identity by embracing waste to adapt to societal conditions of acceptance or rejection. The Bola Bola are primarily scavengers that derive a part of their identity from their displacement towards waste landfills, a convergence of our discarded waste. As there are little barriers to entry, migrants mostly from displaced communities find refuge and thrive by scavenging waste to subsist.

Scavenged materials are sold for less than a euro per kilo thereby providing inexpensive raw materials to industries. Population is subtly split between casual residents and workers who have no other option but to work and live on the landfill. They are all aware of who their fellow locals are even though they live in different communities majorly organized by ethnicity and materials they scavenge.

Our waste is perdurable unlike our identity that constantly shifts and transforms. Waste Identity is an imaginary theorization on the relationship between waste as a metaphor for displacement and identity. If we are directly confronted with a relation between waste’s omnipresence and human migration being that they are concurrent would we reconsider our waste as much as we resist migration? or have we embraced waste as part of our architecture and migration alien to it?

Bola Bola living is an alternative way of living through the reconstruction of one’s identity to adapt to societal conditions by embracing waste. A part of their identity is derived from their displacement towards the landfill but how much of themselves do they reveal and conceal? Are they aware of their contributions to a society they are on the fringe of?

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