The project is the winner of the 4th Corigliano Calabro (Nikon Prize), 2-3 July 2011
Akonolinga, Cameroon: the mango tree is the fulcrum of the Abam village, small community invisible on maps. Each morning I settled down in the same position with my tripod waiting for interesting situation to photograph. Two days after I got back to Italy I found that Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski had already told the same story about a mango tree in a Ethiopian village in his book The Shadow of the Sun:
"At dawn, the sun and the shade of the tree will appear simultaneously. The sun will awaken people, who will immediately strive to hide from it, seeking the shelter of the tree. It is strange but true that human life depends on something as fleeting and fragile as shade. That is why the tree, which bestows it, is something greater than just a tree—it is life itself. If lightning strikes its crown and the mango goes up in flames, people here will have nowhere to find shelter from the sun, or to assemble. Without the means to assemble, they will be unable to make any decision, reach any resolution. But above all they will be unable to recount their history, which exists only in the process of being retold during evening gatherings beneath the tree. Because of this they will quickly lose their knowledge about their yesterday, will lose their memory of it. They will become people without history, meaning—they will be nobody. They will lose that which united them, will disperse, each one going off in a separate direction, alone. But solitude is impossible in Africa; a solitary man will not survive a single day, is automatically condemned to death. That is why if a thunderbolt shatters the tree, the people who lived in its shade will also perish. And so it is said: Man cannot survive longer than his shadow."
- Ryszard Kapuscinski, The Shadow of the Sun