The Buea Chronicles was born as a particular proposal from the African Photography Initiatives. The visual artist accepted the challenge to creatively intervene a series of historical photographs related to their archive, and participate in the international conference Validating Visual Heritage in Africa: Historical Photographs and the Role of the “Archive”, taking place in Buea (Cameroon), in February 2015. Despite not having knowledge of the country’s history, Thaís, with the collaboration of Brazilian writer Fernando Guimarães, embraced this apparent handicap as turned it to her advantage, transforming unfamiliarity into freedom of creation.


Being raised within a wide and interbred culture, Thaís realized this opportunity was a chance to reclaim the history Brazil and Africa have shared for such a long time that shows great harmony between both countries – more significant than Thaís could ever imagine. From the moment she started working on the proposal until its deadline, new discoveries were made every time Thaís and Fernando met to discuss and update The Buea Chronicles by Nelly Costa.


For their final work, Thaís Medina created an imaginary journal that she inherited from her grandmother, Nelly Costa, whose love of adventure led her to Africa many decades ago. Her writings were full of notes and records about her experience, leading towards a fascinating and curious ending… However, there is none, for the journal was left unfinished, leaving her granddaughter with many unanswered questions.


It is very important to emphasize the fictional identity of this work. Every person described in the journal is strictly the result of the authors’ imagination, and does not intend to represent real events. The photos available online were used to inspire new characters, instead of relating to the ones actually represented in the African historical context.


Since Thaís Medina’s career is built on investigations regarding human faith - particularly within Afro-Brazilian religions created by traditions, experiences and religious cults African immigrants brought to Brazil and incorporated to their new lives – it was only natural that she would take a personal interest on the invitation from the API, and creating the project you are about to see.

The Project