SAUTI YA WAKULIMA
Eugenio Tisselli in collaborations with Angelika Hilbeck and Juanita Schläpfer-Miller
PVC print, Tablets (Samsung Galaxy Tab 2), plinths
500 x 500 x 130 cm
Courtesy of the artist, 2011- ongoing
SAUTI YA WAKULIMA DOCUMENTARY
Courtesy Bread for all, 2014
Sauti ya wakulima: The voice of the farmers
Can shared knowledge about agriculture increase the resilience of small-scale farmers in face of the challenges posed by climate change? The project Sauti ya wakulima (The voice of the farmers in Swahili) engages farmers in the coastal region of Tanzania in the production and mobilization of rich audiovisual information about their agricultural commons and their own adaptation strategies. By using smartphones and the Internet, the participants of Sauti ya wakulima have created a database of more than 2,000 audiovisual messages, each consisting of an image, a voice recording and geographical information, that document their knowledge about agriculture, as well as their creativity, needs and aspirations. They have also used those technological tools to strengthen their social network, which may become a safety net of solidarity and mutual support in troubled times.
Sauti ya wakulima was initiated in 2011 by Eugenio Tisselli, Angelika Hilbeck and Juanita Sclaepfer-Miller. The project originally involved a group of ten farmers, five men and five women, from the region of Bagamoyo, located on the coast north of Dar es Salaam. Since its beginning, the farmers claimed ownership of the project, and have actively contributed to its scaling up by inviting other groups of farmers to join in. Sauti ya wakulima presently seeks to consolidate its expansion to other areas of the region, as well as the island of Zanzibar. It also hopes to engage local scientists in participatory research initiatives that may integrate the knowledge published online by the farmers.
In this installation, it is possible to explore a selection of the contents generated by the Tanzanian farmers. These contents are an invitation to learn more about the farmers’ agricultural practices and daily lives by looking at the photographs they have taken, and by listening closely to their voices. Sauti ya wakulima has been sponsored by the North-South Centre of ETH-Zurich and Brot für Alle. It has also received the support of the Department of Botany of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I regard this project as a socially engaged artistic intervention.
Original participants of Sauti ya wakulima: Abdallah Jumanne, Mwinyimvua Mohamedi, Fatuma Ngomero, Rehema Maganga, Haeshi Shabani, Renada Msaki, Hamisi Rajabu, Ali Isha Salum, Imani Mlooka, Sina Rafael.
Local coordinator: Hamza Suleyman.
Scientific advisors: Angelika Hilbeck (ETH Zurich), Flora Ismail (University of Dar es Salaam).
General coordination & Programming: Eugenio Tisselli.