BITTER Chocolate Stories (ENG)

Joana Choumali, Marijn Heemskerk


softcover with flaps and belly band17 x 24 cm215 pp. English
ISBN 97890818876942017

BITTER Chocolate Stories addresses the harsh realism of child labour in cocoa plantations in an unconventional manner. Children who have escaped from forced labour were portrayed in a pop-up studio by one of the most talented African photographers, Joana Choumali from Ivory Coast. Dutch freelance journalist Marijn Heemskerk made interviews with former child slaves and wrote background texts. Together with infographics, they provide insight into the history of the production of cocoa, the economic and social conditions for farmers in West Africa as well as the initiatives (not) taken to fight the worst of child labour practices in the industry. The book also includes drone shots of the plantations as well as words taken from advertising for chocolate. Images taken from international media show that the issue has been in the news regularly. Yet, we proved not to be insensitive to the many calls that were made.

  • Joana Choumali (1974) is a visual artist/photographer based in Abidjan, the Ivory Coast. She studied graphic arts and worked as an art director in an advertising agency before embarking on her photography career. She works on conceptual portraits, mixed media and documentary photography. Much of her work focuses on Africa and what she, as an African, learns about the innumerable cultures around her.

    Marijn Heemskerk (1980) is a lawyer turned award-winning freelance journalist. She began investigating human trafficking, or modern-day slavery, as a lawyer and continues to do so as a journalist. She prefers to address this complex topic through personal stories. In 2016 Marijn won the Sex and Media Prize from the Nederlandse Wetenschappelijke Vereniging voor Seksuologie.

  • Editor(s):Bas Vroege, Lise Straatsma, Davide Ghelli Santuliana
    Text(s):Marijn Heemskerk
    Photography:Joana Choumali, Others
    Design:Kummer & Herrman
  • Printing:NPN Drukkers, Breda (NL)
    Binding:Patist, Den Dolder (NL)
    Other:Colour & Books (Lithography)
  • In collaboration with Tony’s Chocolonely