‘Going Under’: How Nyancho NwaNri is documenting the climate crisis through flooding in Nigeria
a project by Nyancho NwaNri
Nyancho NwaNri is a Gamgerian filmmaker and photographer whose work revolves around African culture, history, languages, spirituality, ethnic/cultural identity as well as social and environmental issues.
The below series is an ongoing photographic project documenting the continuous adverse effects of flooding in Bariga, Lagos Mainland in Nigeria, brought about by climate changes, rising water levels and a lack of proper infrastructure to cope with these phenomena.
About the project
Bariga is a popular neighbourhood on the mainland side of the city of Lagos, famous for producing many musicians both classic and contemporary as well as political figures and notable individuals in the country. Set on the bank of the Lagos lagoon, certain parts of Bariga suffer from flooding annually – a crisis which is noted to be on the rise each year.
The proximity of the neighbourhood to the lagoon, higher tides and rising water levels across the state caused by climate changes combined with lack of proper drainage and other amenities necessary for tackling these problems and alleviating the challenges they present, have led to severe flooding in the area which affects the daily lives and activities of its residents, making it very challenging to live within the neighbourhood.
The floods peak in the third quarter of the year when the tide is at its highest and the rainy season climaxes, forcing children to waddle through knee deep puddles of water in order to get to school. Traders face difficulties transporting their goods and operating from their shops, religious houses are left unable to hold functions as their structures are flooded or destroyed, and families find themselves having to vacate part of or even their entire homes which have been taken over by the flood with no aid or effort from governing bodies.
The project, a blend of documentary and conceptual photography, was birthed after a visit to the area to conduct a photography workshop for the youth of the community. “Going Under” seeks to document the effects of this flooding on the daily lives of the residents of Bariga, focusing on the physical effects and also spotlighting the consequent physiological and mental health challenges.
The aim is for the project to grow over time beyond the boundaries of Bariga to include other neighbourhoods in the state and perhaps eventually progress into the documentation of flooding and the effect of climate change across the country. It will be executed in phases with Bariga being the first phase.