Location: Lagos, Nigeria
"TREE OF FREEDOM"
The Boko Haram sect, a terror group in Nigeria, are notorious for kidnapping of ladies, both young and old. Several global agitations for the release of the kidnapped girls have come and gone. For instance, the themes "Bring back our girls" and "Release Leah Sheribu" connected to the Chibok and Dapchi kidnappings, respectively, were all over the media at different times. Whereas some of these girls have been released, many others are still in captivity till today. The voices of solidarity have moved on to other issues, and it appears the girls have been forgotten. However, there are still a few who are chanting for their release. "Tree of Freedom" is a portrait series of young Nigerian activists uniting to raise awareness for the freedom of the girls still left in the captivity of Boko Haram.
Each of the portraits showed seeds and tree saplings which in African mythology symbolizes life, strength, resilient, immortality, and freedom. In some traditions, trees are planted to represent an individual who may be under any form of bondage, like ailment, captivity or oppression, and it is believed that as long as the trees are nourished and watered to grow, the individual concern would also be sustained. So the seed and tree saplings were symbolic of this tradition undertaking for the sustenance of the girls in captivity.
The activists also wrote letters and poems to the victims to serve as prayers and consolations to the victims. These write-ups were addressed to the victims, and the tones are of hope and courage in the face of terror. They believe that somehow, the notes are means of prayers, and fate would keep the captives long enough to read them.
Those abducted may be forgotten by many, but not by these young activists. So, would you plant a tree today for the release of the captives: A Tree of Freedom?