Taryn Simon, ‘Chapter XVI, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII’, 2011, Gagosian
Taryn Simon, ‘Chapter XVI, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII’, 2011, Gagosian
Taryn Simon, ‘Chapter XVI, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII’, 2011, Gagosian
Taryn Simon, ‘Chapter XVI, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII’, 2011, Gagosian

Excerpt from Annotation Panel, Chapter XVI, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII:

Albinos in Tanzania are under constant threat of attack from human poachers seeking their skin, hair, body parts, blood, and organs for traditional healers who maintain and promote the belief that
albinos have magical powers. There are miners who believe buried albino bones will turn into diamonds, fishermen on Lake Victoria who weave albino hair into nets to catch more fish, and people suffering from various ailments who ingest potions made from albino organs and blood as
possible cures. Victims of albino killings are often discovered without limbs, which can be sold for significant sums of money. Violence against albinos is most prevalent in rural areas where there is limited access to education, a small and compromised police force, and widespread superstition.

Albinism is a genetic condition characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes. This leads to an increased sensitivity to the sun, which often results in skin
cancer and early death. Lack of pigment in the eyes impacts visual development and function, which can result in nearsightedness, extreme sensitivity to light, and blindness. Discrimination against
albinos throughout sub-Saharan Africa affects both schooling and employment opportunities.

The Tanzanian government has responded to violence directed against the albino population by seeking death sentences for convicted albino killers, creating an albino census, and establishing police
escort services for albino children. Nonetheless, the demand for albino body parts continues, providing incentives and profits for both killers and traditional healers.

Abdillah Omari (A.7) is the treasurer of the Tanzania Albino Society, a Dar es Salaam-based organization that works to protect and advocate for the albino population. His wife, Mzawa Iddi Bakari (B.7), runs the women’s division of the society, which focuses on the specific concerns of
albino women. In addition to meeting the emergency needs of albinos, the society seeks to address their more basic needs such as sunglasses, hats, sunscreen, umbrellas, medication, and magnifying

About Taryn Simon

Conceptual artist Taryn Simon’s photographs and accompanied writing are the result of a long process of research and investigation. For her 2011 work A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, produced over a four-year period, Simon traveled around the world collecting stories and images that mapped the relationships among chance, blood, and other components of fate. Her work Contraband (2010) presented 1,075 images of items that were detained or seized from passengers and mail entering the United States from abroad. An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007), revealed objects, sites, and spaces that are integral to America's foundation or daily functioning but remain inaccessible or unknown to the public audience, including a nuclear waste storage facility, a braille edition of Playboy, and the art collection of the CIA. Equally concerned with formalism and realism, Simon seeks seductive images of inaccessible and unrecognized, but symbolic, subjects, and maintains a diverse practice that extends to film, sculpture, and performance.

American, b. 1975, New York, New York, based in New York, New York