From refugee to photographer: ‘Now I teach children in Mali what I learned in Italy’

Mohamed Keita was born in the Ivory Coast and arrived in Italy when he was still a minor, after having traveled a lot to escape the war. Once in Rome, he lived for a few months on the street, near Termini station, and got to know photography thanks to a volunteer from the “Civico Zero” of San Lorenzo, a migrant reception center financed by Save The Children. Today, at the age of 26, he is a recognized photographer and is publishing his first book, entitled “Rome 10 – 20 “, a collection of his shots in the capital. In 2017 he founded “Kenè” – which in Mandingo means “space” – a photography school for children and teenagers in Bamako, Mali, where he teaches them “a new way of looking at the world”. His dream is to open other schools, perhaps right here in the country that welcomed him, in Italy. His first ever shot portrays a cardboard, a plastic bag full of clothes and a black bag: his whole life in one bag, everything he had when he fled his country.

By Giulia Ciancaglini, shots by Maurizio Stanzione