On 20 September, BITTER Chocolate Stories will open at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. Developed by Paradox in collaboration with photographer Joana Choumali, journalist Marijn Heemskerk and Tony’s Chocolonely, BITTER shows ‘the other side’ of the international chocolate industry.

We associate chocolate with celebration, comfort, romance. But do we ever associate it with the farmers, and often children, who literally make the product possible? West Africa produces almost three quarters of the world’s cocoa, 70% of which is consumed in Europe and North America. More than 2 million child labourers work on cocoa plantations in Ghana and the Ivory Coast alone. Who are these children and why do they do this work?

BITTER Chocolate Stories sheds light on these questions. Combining portraits (by Choumali) of 15 former child labourers and interviews (by Heemskerk) with the children and other actors in the industry, the project provides an insight into the complexities of a product many of us take for granted.

The book, exhibition and outdoor campaign are designed by Kummer & Herrman and won an award from the Dutch association of art directors, ADCN. The installation will be on show at the Tropenmuseum until early next year and will thereafter travel to the Afrika Museum in Berg en Dal.

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