Robin Hammond

Buje, Nigeria, 2014

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Giclée print
27.5 x 22.0 in (69.8 x 55.9 cm)
2 of 12
Signed on verso


This work ships from Warrington , GB.


”God should take your life away so that everyone will have peace because you have caused such shame to our family,” said one of Buje’s family members. Buje is a young gay man from northern Nigeria. He was taken from his home, arrested, held in prison for 40 days, and sentenced to 15 lashes with a horse whip. Some consider him lucky. Under Sharia law he could have been executed for consensual same sex activity. It is the pain caused by his family though that hurts him most. “Any time I remember my family and my mother, the hate they have for me, I will just be crying, I want to die. I became homeless, had no family, nothing. It became difficult for me. There is no end to this suffering, until God wills it. But for now I am thinking even if it is house help I can do for work, so I can just get a place to stay, and something to eat. Just until my parents will understand and accept me like before.”

Buje was photographed by Robin Hammond for Where Love is Illegal, a global campaign sharing the stories of LGBTQI+ people who face discrimination because of who they love or how they identify. Every participant in the project is given the opportunity to collaborate in the making of their photograph so they can present themselves how they want to be seen.

Where Love is Illegal is a Witness Change project. Witness Change believes that societies are shaped by the stories they tell. Marginalized people are often excluded from their own stories or are stigmatized in them. This means that their needs are at risk of not being understood, their rights may be abused, and in many cases, their lives are put at risk. Their invisibility means that those who may have the ability to offer support cannot empathize with them or advocate for changes which would improve their conditions. Witness Change exists to improve life for marginalized groups by amplifying their stories. Their vision is to create inclusive societies with equal rights for all.

About Robin Hammond

Esteemed photographer Robin Hammond (New Zelander, b. 1975) has dedicated his artist practice to documenting global human rights issues and marginalized groups through long-term photographic projects. His photographs have been featured on the covers of Time Magazine and National Geographic, and he has won numerous awards including the World Press Photo prize, six Picture of the Year International Awards, and the W. Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography. He was also named one of ‘100 Leading Global Thinkers’ by Foreign Policy and addressed the United Nations on LGBTQI+ discrimination in 2018. Hammond further encourages social engagement through his company Witness Change, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending human rights violations through visual storytelling.