Farewell My Africa



When you have been born in Africa you are marked by Africa and wherever you go, you are a displaced person, for you have two identities — Mirella Ricciardi


Turkana girls,


Maasai Warrior with girlfriend measuring his hair.




Maasai Warriors with lion's mane headresses, Loita Hills, Kenya, 1967.








Mirella Ricciardi was born in Kenya during colonial times to a French mother and Italian father. She spent her fond childhood years living on her family ranch near Lake Naivasha, the Rift Valley, Kenya. She speaks of those early formative years spent in East Africa as forever marking her. Years later, in 1967, she would return to the continent to document daily life in the Horn of Africa capturing remarkable imagery of the Maasai, Turkana, Rendille, Samburu, Bajun and the Gala Boran peoples. Her curiosity and passions driving her, she criss-crossing the region over a period of two years, travelling more than 20,000 miles compelled to document a traditional way of life that she observed to be disappearing. In 1971, the culmination of her efforts was published in a title called ‘Vanishing Africa’ [Adieu L’Afrique] This body of work would propel her career forward and would also later go on to influence the likes of prominent photographers Leni Riefenstahl and Peter Beard who also would soon after publish coffee table books on East African peoples.


She is represented by Michael Hoppen Gallery.

All images courtesy of the artist. All rights reserved.


Where is Lake Naivsha in the Rift Valley, Kenya?

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