Liquid Land

Woman expecting a child in a refugee settlement in the unfinished emergency hospital building. Baku, Azerbaijan. 2010. Photo by Rena Effendi

Woman expecting a child in a refugee settlement in the unfinished emergency hospital building. Baku, Azerbaijan. 2010. Photo by Rena Effendi

Liquid Land is a collective portrait of communities living dangerously among the oil spills and industrial
ruin of the Absheron peninsula. Pushed to the edges of city and society, they inhabit makeshift homes, oilfields and abandoned factories; their numbers grow, with new children born daily. Many are refugees of war – rural populations that lost everything and fled to the city to be safe and to find work. Living in these inhuman conditions for two decades now, they no longer have their village expanse but still breed livestock among the metal waste of factories and hang their laundry on oil rigs. The air they breathe, the water they drink, the playgrounds for their children are all contaminated and hostile. Yet life goes on in this dodgy urban concoction – people decorate their crumbling homes with peacock feathers; a boy plays his drum on a heap of construction waste; an elderly couple plants potatoes in an oilfield; a woman waits to deliver her child in her cardboard home. Land is liquid underneath these people’s homes – their present survival tenuous, their children’s future uncertain.

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