Curse of the Black Gold – Ed Kashi

© Ed Kashi

We all use oil every day of our lives. So Ed Kashi‘s Curse of the Black Gold exhibition – which is on in London for the next few weeks – should be mandatory viewing for everyone.

The show and accompanying materials – a documentary film, multimedia piece and book – are the culmination of five years of unswerving commitment and visits to Nigeria’s Niger Delta region, where 750 BILLION dollars’ worth of oil has been pumped from the ground in the past five decades. In that time the oil companies and politicians have grown rich. But the local people have seen nothing but poverty, violence and environmental degradation. It is utterly unsustainable and makes for sobering viewing, but this is the reality for those who shoulder the burden of the West’s growth and development.

This week there has been a fascinating series of events associated with the exhibition, from a symposium on NGOs and photography at my university, LCC, to a talk at the Frontline Club. Despite having read the Curse book I feel I have learned a lot. But nothing hits you harder and more viscerally than the images themselves. If anyone’s in London between now and April 3, a trip to check it out is really essential.

If you aren’t going to make it down to the Big Smoke, watch the excellent multimedia piece by clicking here and then choosing ‘movie’