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John Kenny


Country  –   Ethiopia
Culture   –   Karo
Year        –    2008


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Kolcho sits on a large, steep hill with a stunning view across a broad, sweeping curve of the Omo River. It’s one of the rare places in the Omo valley where you can rise above the landscape and see the size and importance of the body of water that gives the region its name.

This woman belongs to the Karo, one of the smaller groups of the region. The Karo are renowned as productive farmers, and their use of agriculture, as opposed to relying solely on animals, pre-dates many of their neighbouring groups.

They rely on the seasonal flooding of the Omo River and deposition of silt, a way of life threatened by the Ethiopian government’s construction of the Gibe III dam. International action groups are applying a steady pressure on the government to change course, but the need for electricity (and export of this) takes front seat and is unlikely to change. For now the Omo groups carry on in the shadow of this development.

This woman was pouring grain into a blowing wind. I was drawn by her eyes. It is difficult to explain which particular aspect makes the eyes so appealing, sometimes it is the visual – for example iris colour and the reflection of sky around them – and sometimes it is simply the way that someone looks at you. In the case of this woman, it was aremarkable combination.

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 in their day to day attire.

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

Oromo lady of Bati

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