Photographer Cristina De Middel recalls Zambian mission to Mars in The Afronauts

By Culture24 Reporter | 12 July 2013

Exhibition preview: The Afronauts, The Copper House Gallery, Dublin, until August 2 2013

A photo of a man in an astronaut outfit
© Cristina De Middel / The Copper House Gallery / PhotoIreland Festival 2013
A Spanish photojournalist living in London, Cristina De Middel is a Sony World Photography Award winner known for her work with newspapers, Doctors Without Borders and the Spanish Red Cross.

Pitched as a “b-side” to her work, The Afronauts, a subjective retelling of the Zambian space programme led by the sole member of the country’s National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy in 1964, might be the most unusual story visited by any photography exhibition this year.

The mission to send the first African astronaut to Mars was swiftly cancelled, standing as an amusing historical anecdote these days. But De Middel blurred the line between fact and myth in her now sold-out book, played out in constructed colour photographs, drawings and reproduced letters in a “fictional portrait of a national dream”.

Its publication was met by a nomination for the Deutsche Börse Photo Prize 2013, going on to win The Infinity Award for best publication at the International Center of Photography in New York.

  • Open 9.30am-5.30pm. Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @fire_studio.
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