When Fabrice Monteiro returned to his native West Africa after 20 years abroad, he longed to go surfing. But old fishing nets matted the shoreline; blood from slaughterhouses gushed into the sea; plastic bags festooned the trees like black leaves. “It was a shock for me to find how polluted everything had become,” the photographer says. To spotlight Senegal’s gravest ecological problems, Monteiro teamed up with Ecofund, an environmental group, for a series of photographs starring a “djinni,” or supernatural genie, warning of mankind’s folly in a way that local children might also understand. This djinni, wearing a costume by the Senegalese fashion designer Doulsy using garbage layered according to the time it takes to decompose, looms over a vast trash-burning site outside Dakar where 1,300 tons of waste are deposited each day. The djinni looks away from the camera—toward, depending on your view, a greener horizon, or a smoking abyss.
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