This series of photographs was taken with an old film camera. I had been attracted to photograph both the Maasai and the Samburu peoples in Kenya after first meeting the renowned Africa photographer Angela Fisher in the early 1980s in Nairobi. She, along with Carol Beckwith had just published their seminal book “Africa Adorned.”
Some years later, I had been researching about the effects of globalisation on marginal African communities and had a chance to visit the Samburu in Northern Kenya. Speaking to the elders, I was fascinated to learn that the decorative ceremonial beads that they were wearing were now almost exclusively imported from the Czech Republic. I thought then, that there could be few better examples of the reach of globalisation than that!
In this work, I have attempted to create a visual language which illustrates how the effects of globalisation and commerce can penetrate even the most remote and traditional communities – in this case, the Samburu.
I have “adorned” these images with colouring and lines to represent trade routes and the ‘reach’ of international commerce and globalisation; and dots to represent imported beads and the money required to pay for them.