Alida Vanni

The Green Colour

Interview with photographer Alida Vanni, now in Zanzibar, on this complex historical period because of the pandemic.
Zanzibar | ©Alida Vanni

This post is also available in: Italiano

We asked our authors and our network to answer three questions on how they are coping with this challenging moment in history. Here is an interview with ALIDA VANNI, photographer and author of DooG Reporter.

Is there any beauty in the world, even banal, that you have rediscovered in this period?

Pandemic. The scary word! If I had to give the phrase Pandemic a colour, it would be brown, maybe because this is a colour I don’t like. But I was in Zanzibar before everything happened… and here I stayed, stuck because of the various cancellations for the flight back to Milan. The virus seemed far away… but even this island was not immune; this island that in this sad page of history is now my whole world.

This extended stay was not on the agenda. And here, with the times punctuated by the sounds of nature and the joyful cries of children, it may seem strange. Still, I am rediscovering an island that I thought I knew, that I have always lived in its authentic culture, far from what many know as a tourist island, amidst the people of the villages. An island I love for its simplicity, for its living in tune with time and space. A proud people who live with what little they have but are happy.

Instead, today I discover the island in all its fragility in the face of the approaching, rushing monster, in the front of the unfolding of unknowns with possible dramatic outcomes – health facilities are unsuitable in such circumstances. I reflect on what will become of these people, of this village that has adopted me. I can do little, but perhaps not very little… I can inform them; I can pass on to them the information I have. Here radios are few, the internet is not extensive, TV is not talked about, and we go by word of mouth.

So come on, let’s rediscover this word of mouth; let’s use it as they do! I prepare leaflets explaining the rules for dealing with the virus, find out that someone can machine sew masks out of suitable fabric, order lots of them, disinfect them and send local boys to distribute them to families with the sheet I prepared. Who knows if they will be able to give up their freedom? But I want to believe it! I want the brown colour of the Pandemic here to turn into green, into the green of the palm trees, elegant in their extension towards the blue sky… giving hope! This is also what I have rediscovered, the colour green.

How do you think your profession has changed or will change?

I am distracted by photography at the moment! I don’t miss it! I can’t think of starting, organising, planning, or walking again. I see it as a distant thing! Yes, far away. But I am sure that sooner or later, the heart will start beating again (because that is what it is all about) and that the desire to begin again, to organise, to plan, to walk will return. I have confidence in my profession

An image, a book and a song that represent this period for you.

An image that will live on in the memory of this period: the many masks lying everywhere in my house, freshly disinfected, waiting to be bagged one by one for distribution… A little zawadi (gift) of mine to the village

Text: Alida Vanni 
Original text in Italian - In house translation
Tanzania
Zanzibar, Tanziania
DooG's Author
Alida Vanni
Italy
Photo | Videomaker

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