“Tatsuniya” which means story, tale or riddle in Hausa, is a photography and film series that takes place mainly at Shehu Sanda Kyarimi school, Maiduguri, Nigeria. The project is a poetic alternative narrative about the experiences of students schooling in Northeastern Nigeria.
It extends a collaboration with 20 students of the school who perform in the series. We see the students moving from the classroom to dense green forest in a dream like sequence, extending on an intuitive and improvisational vein using children’s games, poetry and exercises from a “Physical Education book for secondary school students” as a framework for weaving the visual narrative together. The choreographed moving sequences seen in the film and photographs were developed during storytelling workshops in 2017 and 2019. The workshops took place over a seven day period with daily themes to plot an area for playful interaction where the undefined could be stimulated without a direct imposition of meaning.
Gambo first visited the school in 2015 as part of her photojournalistic work “Education is Forbidden”, a long form multimedia narrative about how students were personally experiencing the Boko Haram conflict where schools and universities were targeted. In 2013 the Shehu Sanda Kyarimi Government Secondary School was one of such schools targeted by insurgents. The Tatsuniya series started in 2017, however does not continue where Education is Forbidden left off, but rather is an open-ended exercise in developing new collaborative models and new narratives that highlight agency, play, togetherness and allow for new artistic possibilities and propositions to emerge that reflect on documentary/photography processes.
The Tatsuniya Artist Collective is a registered organisation for the 20 student collaborators in the Tatsuniya series. The collective was founded through the visual storytelling workshops Gambo had with the student collaborators in the series. The collective is a gathering space where members can initiate projects, discuss issues, find support, resources and be sustained in the long-run by the Tatsuniya series. It is also a place where the parameters of long-term collaboration, agency, representation and authorship can be defined and mediated.
Tatsuniya, 2017 - ongoing Courtesy line: Rahima Gambo/ Tatsuniya Art Collective Materials: Still images, video, installation, workshops, gatherings, fabric sculptures Instagram: @tatsuniyacollective Please request for full portfolio