#LocalLens: Zanzibar’s Unique Blend of Island Life
“Zanzibar is a unique cultural mix of Arab, Indian, Portuguese, British and African,” explains graphic designer Nasrin Suleiman (@nazyxo) in this edition of #LocalLens. Nasrin recently returned to this East African archipelago after spending most of her life in North America. Her portraits and photos of everyday life capture Zanzibar’s distinct architecture, customs, music and clothing.
Opportunities to capture the essence of island life are many, says Nasrin. There are the lively, meandering streets of Stone Town. “You will hear loads of laughter, clunks of wood as the local carpenters work on wood carvings and taarab — local cultural music — echoing through the old, historical buildings.” Darajani Market, where the stands of clove, nutmeg and cinnamon helped Zanzibar come to be known as “Spice Island,” is another favorite spot. “The aroma is an infusion of exotic spices and produce.”
However, it’s Zanzibar’s coastline, and the people that make their living from its waters, that are among Nasrin’s favorite subjects. She uses portraiture as a way to converse with locals, like the fisherman and sea farmers collecting sea life to sell at the market. “They share a little of part of their lives and I develop a certain connection with them.”
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