Curse of the Black Gold, by Ed Kashi

50 years ago oil was discovered in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Today, Nigeria pumps 2.1 million barrels a day, making it the sixth largest oil-producing country in the world and a major oil partner of the United States. Although its oil industry generates billions in revenues every year, the average Niger Deltan struggles to survive on less than $1 per day.

These startling facts are powerfully portrayed in Curse of the Black Gold, a short-form multimedia film comprised of graphic photographs by world-renowned photojournalist Ed Kashi and produced by award-winning filmmaker Julie Winokur. With creative precision, Winokur weaves Kashi’s memorable photographs of villagers, local leaders, armed militants, and oil workers together with the impassioned voices of Nigerian poets, environmentalists, and human rights activists. Curse of the Black Gold exposes the enormous costs and devastating impact of oil exploitation and reveals how the convergence of government corruption, irresponsible practices of Big Oil, and abject poverty has created a militant movement for redress.

Photos in the video were culled from Kashi’s award-winning book, Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta. Edited by University of California, Berkeley Professor, Michael Watts, the book also features text by Nigerian journalists and human rights activists.


Ed Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker, speaker, and educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. A sensitive eye and an intimate relationship to his subjects are signatures of his work. A member of VII Photo Agency since 2010, Kashi has been recognized for his complex imagery and its compelling rendering of the human condition. In addition to editorial assignments, filmmaking and personal projects, Kashi is a mentor to students of photography and an active participant in forums and lectures on photojournalism, documentary photography and multimedia. His early adoption of hybrid visual storytelling has produced a number of influential short films.

In 2002, Kashi, in partnership with his wife, writer + filmmaker Julie Winokur, founded TALKING EYES MEDIA. The non-profit company has produced numerous award-winning short films, exhibits, books & multimedia pieces exploring significant social issues.



@tlas, Permanent Collection, SF MoMA, CA
George Eastman House
International Center of Photography, NY
Middle Tennessee State University
Museum of the City of New York
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

New Orleans Museum of Art
San Jose Museum of Art, CA
Southeast Museum of Photography, FL
Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland
University of Louisville Special Collections
Private Collections

America Photo Images of the Year
American Photography
Applied Arts
Artivist Film Festival
Communication Arts
FotoWeek DC Awards Multimedia
IPA Editorial
Open Society Institute Grant, Soros Foundation
PDN Editor’s Choice Award
PDN Photo Annual

The Photographers Giving Back Award
POYi Documentary Journalism 1st Place
POYi Multimedia Award of Excellence
POYi Multimedia Photographer of the Year
Prix Pictet Commission
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant
UNICEF Photo of the Year
USA Book News National Best Books Awards
World Press Photo