Pieter Hugo


10-01-2010 - 07-02-2010
Opening: 10-01-2010 from 17:00 - 19:00
Rotterdam, front room
While 'Nollywood' can be seen at Cokkie Snoei Amsterdam, Cokkie Snoei Rotterdam

shows some images from the series 'Wild Honey Collectors' and 'Boy Scouts'.

The wild honey collectors working alone and in groups in Ghana, spend the day in the forest seeking out bee nests and honey. Their method of collection is clumsy, and in part reflects a lack of resources to cultivate their own sustainable hives. After chopping down a tree that contains a wild bee nest, they set fire to the area surrounding the grounded nest, forcing the bees to flee the ensuing smoke. With cassava branches attached to their hands and necks - the scent of the leaves being disliked by the bees - and black plastic bags over their faces, the men collect honey which is usually spoilt by the soot from the fire.

When Pieter Hugo was in Liberia on a commission to photograph the first black female president in Africa- Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, a group of boys walked past dressed in a mix match of boy scout uniforms. Their uniforms were made-up from second-hand uniforms donated by Boy Scout groups in more affluent countries, and although the uniforms are often the wrong size and come with existing badges, they are worn with pride and honour. As the worldwide movement of Boy Scouts is associated with a peaceful civil society, not a country that has just survived fifteen years of civil war and whose previous president, Charles Taylor, is to be tried for war crimes. In this context, children in uniforms invariably suggest child soldiers, and yet these boy scouts in dapper uniforms are practicing the scout motto 'Be prepared' and the scout slogan 'Do a good turn daily'.

Hugo began as a photojournalist, traveling for work he started developing relationships with the places he found himself in. ''My artistic practice is deeply connected to this engagement with what surrounds me; it is an aesthetic analysis of these places. For me it evolved organically: I didn't have a premeditate plan on how to proceed, photojournalism evolved to 'art'.''