An exhibition of 20 photographs by the social activist photographer, Yetunde Ayeni-Babaeko, which captures the complexity of life that Persons with Albinism (PWAs) face daily opened up to the public on May 25.
Taiwo Olateju is peering at a photo of himself and his twin brother and memories of a dark time come flooding back. He remembers when he considered suicide because of his skin color. Olateju, 27, has albinism. His hair, skin and eyes lack melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its color and helps protect it from damage by the ultraviolet light from the sun. Ghana makes a star-studded debut at the Venice Biennale
“Everyone in my family, nuclear and extended, is dark-skinned. I am the only albino,” Olateju told CNN. “For a long time I felt alone in the world,” he added.Persons with albinism often have yellowish or white hair and skin, the exact color depending on how much melanin their body produces. It is a genetic condition that leads to little or no pigment in the eyes, skin and hair.
Olateju says he was bullied and discriminated against in almost all spheres of life for simply having different eyes and skin.”When I was in secondary school someone actually told me that I was a mistake and deserved to die. It really messed with my self-esteem and till this day I hate that school,” he said.Grace Adeoshun is the secretary of the Lagos chapter of the The Albino Foundation of Nigeria, an organization that works to end discrimination and dispel myths surrounding persons with albinism.She tells CNN that there are many dangerous health myths about persons with albinism.