Barcelona, 2014. Hundreds of Senegalese walk the streets each day with their shopping carts. They look for scrap metal to earn a living. A kilo of metal is worth a few Euro cents.
The collection of scrap metal in the streets is the last informal job massive numbers of immigrants who live in conditions of extreme poverty turn to.
For some, it is one more step on a road of social and labor marginalization. For many others, it is the last option for survival after having lost their jobs, with which they had been able to insert themselves somewhat in the local economy. They are precarious workers, often without a regularized immigration status, who have ended up devoured by the crisis and who are unable to return to the labor market.
The lack of alternatives has turned them into our new urban nomads. Their street-based trade, however, does not guarantee them an exit from social invisibility. Their biographies reveal the difficult process of integration which never ends – suspended between expectations and failures, solidarity and injustice, passive acceptance and faith in a better future.
They are people who have been sidelined from society, who – just like the objects they collect daily – have outlived their social utility. Junk-people who seek reinsertion in the productive cycle, tied to a symbiotic relationship with objects that represent the crude metaphor of their social role.
Andrea Lolicato 2014
© Andrea Lolicato Photographer 2013 – All Rights Reserved