Jurrian Veldhuizen (25) obtained his master’s in International Development Studies at WUR in February. Now, he returns to the campus with a photo exhibition on his thesis research on the Ghanese informal waste industry. The exhibit is set up in the new outdoor expo near Impulse, where twenty photographs measuring 2 x 1 metres tell a story.
‘One-and-a-half years ago, I studied the different ways in which the inhabitants of Kumasi, Ghana, deal with plastic waste’, Veldhuizen explains. ‘When I found myself atop one of West Africa’s largest landfills, I thought: people need to see this.’ He used his camera to bring the story of the waste and those who work with it to life.
Out of Ghana’s population of thirty million, one million works in the waste industryJurrian Veldhuizen, alumnus International Development Studies
‘I had two goals’, he explains. ‘To confront people with the enormous amount of waste we produce every day, and to show the world behind the garbage bin. That world is much larger than the bag of rubbish you toss into the bin. My exhibition tells that story.’ In addition to the pictures that already speak for themselves, a QR-code with every photograph leads to a web page with additional information.
‘Out of Ghana’s population of thirty million, one million works in the waste industry’, Veldhuizen states. ‘By joining them in their work on the garbage trucks, picking garbage in the landfill and sorting, shredding and washing garbage in the workshops, I got to know the informal waste industry. The people I photographed and interviewed trusted me because I joined them in their work.
I would love to expose many more hidden worlds—the one behind WUR’s waste, to begin with.
‘Thus, I entered a world that remains hidden from most people’, Veldhuizen continues. ‘The story that emerged follows the plastic from the landfill to the shredded product that is ready to be melted into something new.’
Veldhuizen’s first exhibition whets this thirst for more. ‘This is the start of my freelance career. I would love to expose many more hidden worlds. The one behind the waste WUR produces annually. I hope people of WUR appreciate this exhibition and allow me the opportunity to make that a reality.’