NML Collective | The Greenhouse – Touba’s Exiles

Separator wall of toilette

[I]n the heart of Milan, between skyscrapers and mansions lives in a group of exiles from Dakar.
They have settled in an abandoned greenhouse replacing the space that was occupied by plants before them. They live in extreme poverty, drinking the water from the sprinklers and take shelter inside the greenhouse. They living in symbiosis with the place adapting their tradition and their culture.

They believe in a prophet named Cheikh Amadou Bamba (1853-1927), who said to have founded Touba under a large tree when, in a moment of transcendence, he experienced a cosmic vision of light. In Arabic, Tùbà means “felicity” or “bliss” and evokes the sweet pleasures of eternal life in the hereafter. In Islamic tradition, Tùbà is also the name of the tree of Paradise.

We followed this group for several months, photographing them during the seasons and sharing with them every moment of the day. We just want to tell this story.

Detail of greenhouse bench
Sleeping man
Rag, sign of abandon
Silhouettes of the exiles looking outside
Signes of construction outside the greenhouse
Portrait of a new arrived
Touba’s coffee rite
During a dance praying for touba
Meal with a heir of touba


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