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The journey inside: stay, remain, come back, change

A photographic reportage

The photographic reportage The journey inside: stay, remain, come back, change is the story of the less known sides of the migratory journey, where no one excludes the other: the side of women who stay at home among precariousness, absences and daily ransoms; the side of those who decide to stay, to build and imagine their future there; the side of those who come back because the other side does not want it; the side of those who want to understand to change. Of the complex phenomenon of migration, the photographic reportage shows the aspects less evident to the western eye, going into the places from which migrants have decided to leave.

We are in Mali in the rural region of Koulikoro about 100 km from the capital Bamako, where the photographer Paolo Saglia has followed, between April 2019 and February 2020, the development of an awareness campaign for young Malians, who look at migration as the only alternative to an apparently sedentary situation, without developments, without opportunities. A campaign built together with local communities, conveyed through commercials and radio meetings, the production of a rap song written by a Malian group and a traveling show of theater awareness, which touched 15 rural villages. The title of the show Tunka, the word that unites all shores (Tunka in the Bambara language means “adventure”, the term most used in Mali to talk about the migratory journey), invites the whole community to participate, to confront and reflect, to trigger a positive change.

The history of migration is a long story, made of old and new models of representation, where the community participates, because migration is a great enterprise, a collective and individual event, conditioned by a complex set of factors, the result of dynamics that move and interact with each other. In order to understand them, it is necessary to see the women, men, boys, girls, children, families and the elderly, who we meet along the banks of The Journey Within: staying, staying, coming back, changing so as to enrich our vision too, which restores dignity and free energy to make migration a choice rather than a necessity.

Paolo Saglia’s photographic reportage was realized within the AwArtMali project, a project of the NGO Tamat funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) of the European Commission, in partnership with Fondazione ISMU, Giusti Eventi, Farneto Teatro, Cardet, Congenia, Instrategies.