Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Art and Albinos

Albinism is a genetic condition that causes a deficiency in the production of melanin, which affects a person’s pigment. People with albinism are also at high risk for skin cancer.  There is a particularly high rate of albinism amongst people from sub-Saharan Africa. According to some estimates, an estimated one out of every 4,000 people is affected. In comparison, only one out of every 20,000 people born in Europe and the United States have this genetic anomaly. 

People with albinism living in the Democratic Republic of Congo face daily discrimination that sometimes spirals into verbal abuse and even physical violence. In Tanzania, Malawi and Burundi, people with albinism often fall victim to ritual crimes because of the persistence of traditional beliefs that their body parts have magical powers. 

Josué Valentia Mbanga Iloko, age 20, is an art student living in Kinshasa. He explains why he started painting people with albinism.

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