When I first came across Spanish photographer Cristina de Middel’s ongoing Afronauts Project last month, I loved the photos but was not aware of the story behind them which make them all the more interesting.
From the photographer:
In 1964, still living the dream of their recently gained independence, Zambia started a space program that would put the first African person on the moon catching up the USA and the Soviet Union in the space race.
Only a few optimists supported the project by Edward Makuka, the school teacher in charge of presenting the ambitious program and getting its necessary funding. But the financial aid never came, as the United Nations declined their support, and one of the astronauts, a 16 year old girl, got pregnant and had to quit. That is how the heroic initiative turned into an exotic episode of the African history, surrounded by wars, violence, droughts and hunger.
“Afronauts” is based on the documentation of an impossible dream that only lives in the pictures. I start from a real fact that took place 50 years ago and rebuild the documents adapting them to my personal imagery.
It was hard to select just one of De Middel’s photography projects to post here; they are all wonderful. If you have a few minutes you might want to check out Pop Totem, Messenger, and Centauro…or go crazy and look at everything on her site.