‘This is what hatred did’ is the lapidary phrase that ends Amos Tutuola’s novel My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. When it was published in 1954, the novel provoked such violent reactions that Tutuola was obliged to leave Nigeria. Its concluding phrase is the starting point for photographer Cristina de Middel‘s interpretation of the tenebrous story based in the streets of Makoko, a watery slum in the city of Lagos.
The book that has grown out of this project merges Tutuola’s original story with the reality of a country suffering under the heavy burden of African stereotypes. De Middel plays with the double narrative offered by text and image, and the layers of meaning produced by their union. What emerges is a grey zone between documentary and fiction that seeks to cast light upon a complex and inscrutable continent.