Venetia Menzies

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Through the lens of an individual family '21st-Century Bedouin' offers us an insight into life under French rule in Algeria.

The Bedouins of the Algerian Sahara are nomadic people who migrate to survive. Their freedom of movement was brutally curtailed under French rule. The majority were murdered or relocated to concrete settlements. This is the home of the 21st-Century Bedouin's grandmother.

The youngest member of the family, a 21st-Century Bedouin, recalls his arrival in London. When their home was destroyed by government forces, he left in hope of providing for the family. Shortly after, his elder brother went missing.

During the Black Years of the civil war, the family fled to the capital from the Sahara, and built their own home amongst fellow displaced Bedouin families. The government destroyed all of their homes in 2014. The yellow mosque that the community built still stands.

The coastline of Goa, India, is protected from private purchasing to provide access to locals for fishing, transport and recreation. In reality, the coastline is almost completely eradicated. Corrupt officials have sold the land, which is then razed and developed into hotels, casinos or private mansions.

Infrastructure development in Goa has enabled high levels of growth in the tourism industry, providing jobs in hospitality and transport. These jobs have replaced traditional occupations such as fishing. The waters are now heavily polluted due to the effects of tourism, namely casino boats, and fisherman are unable to sustain a living.

Behind this abandoned temple lies a lagoon known by locals as 'the Pond of Jewels'. The legendary pool would produce diamonds and gems for all brides-to-be that visited its banks, who would later return the jewels after their wedding. After greed overcame its visitors, the pond became devoid of jewels, pillaged by the previous generations.

Stray dogs recline on a football pitch, which according to a local Goan is 'the last piece of public land left'.

This model of development can be seen across India. In Delhi's Kathputli colony, the world's largest community of street performers, residents such as this woman were violently intimidated and then forcibly removed from their homes. The colony which once housed thousands of artists is set to be developed into a five star hotel.

The Mirror Man Named [Redacted] is a refused asylum seeker who lived destitute in London for 25 years.

After fleeing Nigeria on the eve of his execution date, incarcerated for organising against the dictator Abacha, he sought asylum in the UK.

Failure to provide sufficient evidence meant The Mirror Man Named [Redacted] was refused asylum, forcing him underground alongside thousands of other destitute refugees.

Over the duration of a year, The Mirror Man Named [Redacted] collaborated with myself to document his reflections using disposable cameras. Both of our photos, alongside verbatim interviews comprise his testimony. "Don't you want to look at yourself as you walk past me?"

Venetia Menzies

Venetia Menzies is a photographer and journalist who seeks to reveal a mosaic of human realities, all components of our globalised and diverse world.

A world fraught with social and environmental issues, and yet intricate and wondrous.

Projects focus on the lived experience of globalisation on livelihoods, religions, geographies and cultures. Often relying on collaborative methods, her work places the human story at the epicentre.

Venetia graduated from University College London with a 1st class degree in Economics. She was later awarded the Stationer’s Company Scholarship to pursue a Masters in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism at the University of Westminster.

Venetia runs photographic storytelling workshops with marginalised communities in London, working with organisations such as the British Red Cross, The British Library and Octavia Foundation.

Her series ’21st Century Bedouin’, documenting the history of migration in Algeria through the lens of an individual family, won the Maghreb Photography Awards 2018, was presented with an Honourable Mention by Getty Reportage, and was shortlisted for the 2018 Contemporary African Photography Prize, as well as the Royal Photographic Society’s International Photography Exhibition.


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