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Ongoing photo book project, 2017-2019

The earliest available records show that the history of Afro-Finnishness goes back as far as 1899 when Rosa Emilia Clay got her Finnish citizenship as the first person of African descent. They Walked on Water honors this tradition by highlighting the people who through their hard work and sacrifices built a new life in Finland, and in the process made it possible for us and other Afro Finns to dream in ways that were not possible for them.


The discourse regarding black people in Finland is often limited in its scope and lacks understanding of the amount of time black people have lived in this country and the ways we have helped mold it into the place it is today. This is a story about first generation Afro Finns, the trailblazers - about who they were, who they’ve become and about the ways in which they have influenced their new home. A home that wasn’t always the paradise it was described as. Thank you for your your fearlessness and the sacrifices you made for those that came after you. For us.


They walked on Water is a collaborative project between myself and writer Maryan Abdulkarim.

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