an investigative photo documentary

Exclusive 21-page photo essay from our investigative journalist team in collaboration with award-winning photojournalist Mambu Bayoh. Location: New York, United States Copyright Wondereur 2017.

MEET with artist Lina Iris Viktor curated by award-winning architect Sir David Adjaye.

Title 1
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I NEED TO FIND THIS PRECISE FORMULA, THIS BLUEPRINT FOR A PUZZLE I’M TRYING TO PUT TOGETHER.
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I’ll spend months researching various dimensions of astrophysics and of human history.
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THERE’S SOMETHING FASCINATING IN THE STORIES OF OUR UNIVERSE. WE DON’T THINK ABOUT IT VERY MUCH.
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What Elon Musk is doing with SpaceX and Richard Branson with Virgin is to bring astrophysics into public consciousness. Like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, and Carl Sagan – these scientists are explorers trying to cross into various frontiers of space exploration.
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Going back in time and looking at ancient cultures, you can see that there's always been this interest about our place in the universe. Somehow today, it's gotten lost along the way. Some modern tribal cultures still have this beautiful kinship with the universe. I want to reconnect with that.
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As an African raised in London now living in New York, I encounter simplistic narratives about Africa which have been disseminated to the global community en masse without debate. These stories don’t do justice to the continent.
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HOW ABOUT WE GO BACK IN TIME TO MALI, ONCE FAMOUS FOR ITS LIBRARIES AND UNIVERSITIES, A WORLD CENTRE OF KNOWLEDGE?
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I’M LOOKING AT ANCIENT CULTURES TO TELL THE STORY OF OUR PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE.
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NOW, IT’S TIME FOR ME TO MINE MY OWN GOLD.
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I NEED TO RELOCATE PERIODICALLY TO KEEP MYSELF CHALLENGED.
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My cousin has obtained the rights to mine gold in Ghana where the ore is more yellow than that found in California. For me, there is personal and political meaning in wanting to use West African gold in my artwork, even if I am the only one who knows the source.
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There was a time when gold was truly sacred. Ancient Egyptians used gold to line their temples and funerary rooms. Gold was the currency the dead used for entry into the next world.
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Gold has always fascinated. It is the stuff of the universe, found in meteorites but scarce here on Earth.
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GOLD IS MOST LUMINESCENT IN LOW-LIT, DARK SITUATIONS. IT’S LITERALLY LIKE THE SUN.
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I ONLY USE 24K GOLD IN MY WORK. IT'S PURE.
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At an emotional level, people will always be able to tell the difference between pure gold and alloy.
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If only we as humans could discern our own value with the same sensitivity.
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It’s almost like we have to tap into our power. It’s all in our ancestral memory.
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I’M TRYING TO ELICIT REACTIONS FROM PEOPLE TO SYMBOLS AND UNIVERSAL TRUTHS OBSCURED AND DEVALUED IN TODAY'S WORLD.