collaboration between the photographer Fazal Sheikh and the writer
Teju Cole, addressing the interlinked crises of our time
For the past 25
years Fazal Sheikh has highlighted the plight of displaced people and
refugees around the world. He has photographed people driven from
their homes by war as well as those upended by the redrawing of
national borders and the reassertion of racial and ethnic divisions.
Sheikh has also made sublime photographs of landscapes altered by
political and environmental crises.
In the past two
years, the shift to the political right in the US has been replicated
across Europe, the Middle East, Central and East Africa and Southeast
Asia, as authoritarian governments and xenophobia have increased. As
an act of refusal to these political trends, Sheikh sought out the
celebrated novelist and critic Teju Cole for a collaboration that
would reinforce their commitment to the ideal of a compassionate
global community as well as the importance of individual courage.
The resulting book
represents the two authors’ distinct visions, their shared values
and mutual spirit of cooperation. With Cole’s words and Sheikh’s
photos we are confronted with fundamental and newly necessary
questions of co-existence: who is my neighbor? Who is kin to me? Who
is a stranger? What does it mean to be human?