SHERP, Long Wanderings in Northern Kenya

Jordan Campbell

This documentary-based exhibition gives a glimpse into daily life at the Samburu Handicap Education and Rehabilitation Programme (SHERP), an NGO in Maralal, Kenya. SHERP, in an effort to accommodate a range of needs, is a home, community, orphanage, and dormitory for children with disabilities.

This exhibition presents images that Toronto-based artist Jordan Campbell made during his visits to SHERP. The work stems from his active participation and service in the community and takes on the spirit of Ubuntu, originally a Zulu axiom and philosophy, meaning “I am, because we are.” The philosophy, based on human inter-connectedness, is a call for interdependency rather than individualism.

The sense of belonging inherent in Ubuntu is manifested in the children at SHERP as they laugh, cry, and serve each other together. Their refusal to be defined by disability and desire to be valued in their communities informs Campbell’s work. By first recognizing the individual rather than a disability, Campbell encourages an alternative way of looking at differences.

This exhibition is the result of an award program presented in partnership with Ryerson University, Alliance Française, and the Festival. Campbell was subsequently mentored by the Festival’s Artistic Project Manager, Sabrina Maltese.