Photography as Advocacy—A Half Century of Oil and Misery in the Niger Delta

Nigeria is the sixth largest producer of oil in the world—and now one of the major suppliers of U.S. oil in what has been called the scramble for African oil. Virtually all of Nigeria’s oil is pumped from the nine states that make up the Niger Delta in the southeast of the country. Yet the delta remains the poorest region in the nation. Political gangsterism, corruption, and poverty seem to converge there.

The Open Society Institute Documentary Photography Project and Revenue Watch Institute hosted a panel on oil in the Niger Delta and the use of photography in advocating for social change. Ed Kashi and Michael Watts discussed their new book, Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta.


  • Ina Howard-Parker, Founder, Represent (moderator)
  • Antoine Heuty, Senior Economist, Revenue Watch Institute
  • Ed Kashi, photographer and co-author of Curse of the Black Gold; his work is currently on display at OSI as part of the Moving Walls 14 photography exhibition.
  • Omoyele Sowore, Nigerian journalist and activist
  • Michael Watts, Chair of Development Studies, University of California, Berkeley and co-author of Curse of the Black Gold

Amy Yenkin, Director of the Documentary Photography Project, introduced the event.

Date: September 23, 2008
Time: 6:008:00 p.m.

OSI-New York