Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Hyena & Other Men

Another exemplary opening at Yossi Milo: Pieter Hugo's The Hyena & Other Men, on view through January 12.
Garuba Yawu with Mora, Ogere-Remo, Nigeria 2007
© Pieter Hugo

Upon discovering a cell phone image of a group of men with hyenas in chains, Pieter Hugo tracked down the "Gadawan Kura" as they are known in Hausa. They are traveling performers of a familial tradition, handed down from generation to generation entertaining crowds and selling traditional medicines with three hyenas, four monkeys, and a few rock pythons. Traveling with a Nigerian reporter who served as a translator, Hugo made two separate visits two years apart creating portraits of these men.

"Many people invariably only ask about the welfare of the animals but the question misses the point. Instead perhaps, we could ask why these performers need to catch wild animals to make a living. Or why they are economically marginalized if Nigeria is the world's sixth largest exporter of oil." - Pieter Hugo

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