Photo by Ngadi Smart

Wata Na Life

Wata Na Life (Krio for Water is Life), is a phrase heard often in Sierra Leone, a country where water is very much a currency.

Commissioned by WaterAid and British Journal of Photography, Ngadi Smart spent three months in the country of herheritage exploring the link between water and the changing climate.

What she found were communities adapting as best they could to the fall-out from a climate-exacerbated water crisis, amidst corruption and lack of governmental planning.⁠ The project is a marked rejection of the “dehumanising” way developing African nations have historically been portrayed by Western media. Ngadi counters tropes “poverty porn” with vibrant collage; celebrating the essence and identities of the people and places of Sierra Leone, blending each location’s scenery, portraits, and objects to form a more authentic representation than she feels any single photo could convey.