by Adib Chowdhury


Friends and activists congregate to remember Lembibo, an Ethiopian domestic worker who died under mysterious circumstances last month. She was found dead in her agent’s swimming pool having been taken away following a miscarriage the day before.

A sample of my new work looking at the lives of international migrant workers. This is so much broader and horrific than I ever imagined and will take longer than I envisioned. It covers issues of racism, trafficking, andmens misguided belief in the ownership of women's bodies. Below is Lembibo's story.

An unmistakeable bulge began to appear on Lembibo. Pregnancy. Youssef Ramel, her sponsor, called the doctors only when blood began to flow down her bed and into her room. She was having premature birthing complications and was rushed to hospital where she then suffered a miscarriage. Ramel’s wife phoned the agency, “now she needs someone to be her maid. Take her.” Lembibo was now a burden to the family, worthless as a maid.

Lembibo’s agent, Ali Hoteit, came the next day and took her to his house. Inexplicably, his wife removed the CCTV cameras of the house the night before. By breakfast, Lembibo could be seen floating dead in the agent’s swimming pool.

Later, footage went viral of Lembibo screaming and refusing to enter her agent’s car. Activists argue as to whether she was a victim of rape either by the agent who took her away, by her sponsor, or if she was pregnant before arriving. Requests for a DNA test and investigation into the deaths have been declined and the agent remains uncharged and free. Neighbours say they saw the agent sometimes go into the house and beat her with a stick, her stifled screams echoing down the street. The case resembles one of many domestic worker’s “suicides” in Lebanon which appear under dubious circumstances. Activists argue that sponsors are abusing and murdering workers with impunity across the country. Official government statistics reveal international migrant worker deaths occur at a rate of 2 per week- and these are conservative official figures. The real figures are likely to be higher. @ Beirut, Lebanon

“Come, sit. The fire will warm you...” by Adib Chowdhury


“Come, sit. The fire will warm you.” We may be in a desert but people tend to remember its fiery heat and forget the surprising chill that comes with nightfall, its strong gust flicking at the corners of the tarpaulin. Abou Sultan the Bedouin, finishes praying, pokes the fire, picks up the skewered pieces of lemon roasted chicken, and hands them to us before breaking his fast: an incredible feat in the desert. At this point I would like to tell you that he follows the tradition of Bedouin storytelling by filling out the shadows of unknown shapes surrounding us cast by the fire, of stories of Djinn and ghouls long into the night before we pass out enveloped by the canopy of stars above us, “the one thousand star hotel”, as he quipped earlier. Instead, headlights appear out of nowhere and his son jumps out of a van, shakes our hands and smiles, then mutters something hurriedly to his father. Perhaps a family emergency, perhaps he was just there for the pictures for his website for the new camping grounds he wants to set up for tourists, or perhaps he simply wanted to sleep in a nice bed that wasn’t surrounded by flying sand and ants with heads three times the size of their body before he began his early morning shift as a coach driver to make ends meet. I can sympathise. Perhaps we will never know. Abou Sultan the Bedouin simply got in the van and drove off. This is the reality for many bedouin despite pasty headscarf toting tourists wanting ‘authentic’ experiences. That the Bedouin must earn an increasing income to keep up with Jordan’s steep rising costs despite wage stagnancy is not exactly instagrammable material. Regardless, he was absolutely right about the one thousand star hotel- hands down best view I have ever had at night. [notes from an assignment earlier in the Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan. June 2018]


Shortlisted for Lucie Foundation Emerging Scholarship 2017 by Adib Chowdhury

Happy to announce I've been shortlisted for the Lucie Foundation Emerging Scholarship 2017. An honour to see my name alongside other great shortlisted photographers. I'm currently preparing to shoot the second part of my project looking at Lebanon's largest and most volatile refugee camp: Ain el Hilweh. I'll be exploring the struggle for power within the camp as well as the wider stories of prolonged displacement, tying it in to the concept of what constitutes as a "Homeland" and exploring the fluid nature of citizenship through displacement.

On other news....I'm now the proud owner of a beautiful Bronica SQ Medium format camera.