Michele Sibiloni is an Italian photographer and videographer born in 1981, currently living between Italy and Uganda.
Between 2012 and 2014 he has been documenting the nightlife of the Ugandan capital, in 2016, the project became Fuck it a photo-book published by Edition Patrick Frey.
Nsenene Republic is his ongoing project about grasshopper hunting in Uganda. It was shortlisted for the Pop CAP 2018 (Contemporary African photography prize), Photographic Museum of Humanity grant and Aperture Summer Open 2019.
Publisher: Edition Patrick Frey
By The Way
Grasshoppers, “nsenene” in the local language, are both a delicacy and a source of income in Uganda. They migrate en masse twice a year, right after the rainy seasons, flooding the sky in huge flocks before daybreak.
Every night, a large part of the population stays up till twilight to hunt and sell them. Traps made of barrels and metal sheets are placed everywhere, even on rooftops, and strong light bulbs are used to attract the insects.
The ubiquitous presence of the crickets and the overall green shade dispersed by the night mist and the smoke of bonfires create a otherworldly scenario, enhanced by the oddness of the hunting techniques and self-made equipment.
Catching and eating grasshoppers is an old tradition in Uganda, and their high protein content makes them a potential food resource for the future: as stated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in 2013, introducing edible insects into more people’s diets could reduce world hunger and improve food safety.
In recent years, though, deforestation has heavily reduced the amount of insects that migrate and climate change across Africa has made seasonal rains difficult to predict.
Book Specs: Nsenene (2021) by Michele Sibiloni published by Edition Patrick Frey | 144 pages | 23 x 31 cm | Hardcover | ISBN: 978-3-907236-13-0 | English | Designer Nicolas Polli | Available here.
Three texts by Ugandan authors – Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (H.E. Bobi Wine), Katende Kamadi and Francis Sengendo – accompany the pictures in the book, helping to frame the cultural context. Highly recommended!