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Kenya's Nubians: Then & Now

17 - 26 November 2010

Host Gallery, 1 Honduras Street, London, EC1Y 0TH

UNHCR presents Kenya’s Nubians: Then & Now, the first London exhibition for photographer Greg Constantine. Combining rare, historical photographs of the Nubian community with Constantine’s recent work on the community’s struggle for recognition, the exhibition aims to tell the story of this little-known community who, as one Nubian elder described is, “being squeezed into extinction”.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, UNHCR commissioned photographer Greg Constantine to spend a month photographing the Nubians, one of the communities in Kenya exposed to the risk of statelessness.

The Nubian community has lived in Kenya for over 100 years. Brought by the British in the late 1800s from Sudan, Nubians served in the King’s African Rifles during the first and second world wars and played a vital role in the development of East Africa. Unable to return to their homeland, the British designated over 4000 acres of land for the Nubians and their families to settle on. The Nubians named the land, Kibra or ‘land of forest’. After Kenyan Independence, the Nubian community was denied recognition and has been one of Kenya’s most invisible and under-represented communities ever since. Over the past 40 years, hundreds of thousands of rural migrants have flooded into Nairobi in search of work and Kibra has been the land where they’ve been encouraged to settle. Eventually the Nubian settlement of Kibra would turn into Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa.


Mandated by the UN General Assembly, UNHCR works with governments to address problems of statelessness. 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and yet there are an estimated 12 million stateless people worldwide, including the Nubians. Not considered as nationals by any State, stateless people often have limited access to birth registration, identity documentation, education, healthcare, legal employment, property ownership, political participation and freedom of movement.

Kenya's Nubians: Then & Now is part of Constantine’s long term project ‘Nowhere People’ documenting the lives of stateless people worldwide. Greg Constantine is a freelance photographer from the US whose work has been recognised in Pictures of the Year International, NPPA Best of Photojournalism and the Amnesty International Human Rights Press Awards (Hong Kong). He has received the SOPA Award for Feature Photography from the Society Of Publishers in Asia, the Harry Chapin Media Award for Photojournalism and was co-winner of the Osborn Elliott Prize for Journalism in Asia.

For further information please contact Laura Padoan at padoan@unhcr.org; 020 7759 8092