The foot goes where the heart leads

(Tunisian proverb)

We can tell our story from our feet. Imagine for a few moments that we are face to face with our feet; we would see our pains, our fears, our sufferings, our weaknesses and our emotions, in short our life.

In Africa, and especially in Madagascar, the feet are not sheltered, confined in shoes but most often shod in simple sandals in the open air or naked in direct contact with the ground. More than once, it happened in the street to be stopped in front of the footsteps of a Madagascan rickshaw. Tired by the various terrains they are foul, the feet of these tireless carriers speak to us. Just look at their stunted toes. Distributed in an anarchic way like soldiers in rout, the toes undergo the roughness of the burning cobblestones of the city, carry with them the traces of the accidents of course encountered on the muddy or stony paths of the country. Curled up on their own, they seem to no longer know where to go to escape their work life. As for the foot, it sagged over time, swollen in the hot weather, deformed, calloused or discharged, daily subjected to the loads imposed by the rickshaw.

By simple photographic observation, I wanted to show through the feet of Malagasy workers, a reflection of what they experienced. Restoring by their aspect (shape, scar) information related to their paths traveled through the roads, the feet are the moving memory of each of them.

Christian Barbé
March 2020