Ebunoluwa Akinbo’s Behind the Shine

Drawn by the shine of Kigali, Ebunoluwa Akinbo, who was in the city for the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop could not resist tapping away at her shutter-button to capture the clean streets. “Cleanliness is a culture that is evident in the city of Kigali, Rwanda, hence the Shine of the city,” She says, “rubbish does not clean itself, people clean rubbish, with bins all over the city and cleaners working daily.”

Kigali is ranked among the cleanest cities in Africa and the world.

Capturing more than just the shine of the city, Ebunoluwa’s photographs showcase Clarisse Uwase, one of the workers whose efforts keep Kigali on the rank of clean cities.

23-year-old Clarisse Uwase sweeps in the Kimuhurura district of Kigali, and she takes pride in her work where she earns approximately 50,000 RWF (about 19,700 naira) to support herself and family.

Ebunoluwa says: “Though she keeps her city clean, she also extends this hygiene to her life; personal and home. 

“After her daily cleaning routine, she closes by 4 pm, gets back home after a few minutes tired, except Saturdays and Sundays where she takes time to rest.”

For the series, Ebunoluwa tells this visual narrative of Kigali and Clarisse by photographing the woman at work, in her interaction with colleagues, and in her personal space, portraying cleanliness.

About the Artist

Ebunoluwa Akinbo is a documentary photographer interested in exploring social issues, culture, identity and social change with her work. 

Ebunoluwa has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Lagos and was the winner of the 2018 Fashola Photography Competition, Nigeria. Her works have appeared offline and online in reputable platforms including the New York Times, in 2018 when she was commissioned to document the #Thisis18 project in Lagos, Nigeria.

Her work ‘The passing of time’ was exhibited at the Lagos photo festival in 2018. In June 2019, she participated with other young photographers in a group exhibition titled “Live-in Desire” with the Nlele Institute and the Goethe Institut in Lagos.

To build her skills she has attended a number of workshops including the annual Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Kigali, which she attended with the help of a scholarship.

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