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John Kenny

Oromo lady of Bati

Country  –   Ethiopia
Culture   –   Oromo
Year        –    2008


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The town of Bati is  famous for the massive, bustling, weekly market that takes place on a hillside under a sea of umbrellas.  Animals are still the measure of wealth for rural people across much of Africa, and more camels and cattle are traded at this market than at any other in Ethiopia.

The town is a meeting point for the Christian Amhara of the uplands, the mixed religion Oromo, and the lowland, Islamic Afar of the Rift Valley.  All through the day, Afar and Oromo men file towards the market in huge numbers, many dragging reluctant animals behind them.  They immediately catch the eye with their often huge, round hairstyles. You can find everything and anything: bundles of firewood, ‘USA Aid’ metal containers re-hammered into something new, small children hoping to sell a couple of goats, coloured powders, camels for sale and chilli sellers whose wares still manage to give off enough potency to sting the eyes and mouth as you walk past.

In midst of this mayhem I met this Oromo girl; her eyes seemed as alive to me as the market in which we were both standing.

John Kenny’s work is all shot on location in some of the remotest corners of Africa. His images are all taken with natural light and with his subjects dressed in their day to day attire.

The C-type prints are mounted with an acrylic face mount giving them a 3-dimensional, contemporary look.

Lady elder of Suguta

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