Canning Town photographer displays work in exhibition

PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 May 2017

Munya Chidakwa

Munya Chidakwa

Munya Chidakwa

Graphic designer and photographer Munya Chidakwa has travelled throughout Africa and Asia since his final year of studies at the University of East London, taking photographs and shooting documentaries along the way.

Some of Munya Chidakwa's photographsSome of Munya Chidakwa's photographs

Munya, 28, decided to put these images, which he took while working with Islamic Relief, in a gallery at The Ritzy in Brixton.

He named the exhibition, which took place during April, “Vive,” derived from the word meaning “life” in French.

One of the biggest things he noticed was that even though these people live in extreme poverty, they still survived. They were still proud of everything they had.

“I really wanted to celebrate their lives,” Munya, who lives in Canning Town, said. “Currently, the world is quite a dark place. It’s a breath of fresh air when you celebrate lives instead.”

A lot of people who came to see the gallery were people the former St Bonaventure’s pupil had grown up with. They were so surprised to see how far he had travelled and the work he had done.

“Someone like me to go there is unheard of,” Munya said. “It surprised them. It intrigued them.”

The biggest feedback he got was that his images shared exactly what the person was going through.

He wanted to shed a positive light on the people he photographed – something that is not always shown in the media, he said.

If there’s one thing audiences can take away from his photos, it’s that there is power in stories, Munya said.

“So many people share so many different stories,” Munya said. “We all have different experiences, and there are so many other stories to share.”

Next for Munya is another gallery on Saturday, July 1 and Sunday, July 2 in Brixton. In the future, he hopes to have a gallery in Newham.

For Munya, taking all these photographs is also therapy for himself

“I constantly see that I put pressure on myself,” Munya said. “Seeing someone who’s happy even in those conditions gives me hope that I can keep going.”

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