TURTLE 1 Project
Photography, research, Video

Suame Magazine in Kumasi, Ghana is an area that organized itself completely around the recycling of imported second-hand cars. There are 200,000 artisans working in 12,000 workshops, stores and factories. Set Up Shop is an interdisciplinary project aiming to produce an African concept car in collaboration with the local community to get an understanding of the dynamics in the area. Teun Vonk documented this project initiated by visual artist Melle Smets and researcher Joost van Onna. Vonk lived in and explored the area for three months. His documentation of the project is publicized in the book Turtle 1: Building a car in Africa.


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During this residency period in Kumasi, Teun Vonk independently created, alongside the documentation of Turtle 1, two films:

Guilds of Car Culture gives an insight in African car-culture. The portrayed workmen are specialized in one very specific skill or activity like starting engines, porting heavy things or cutting rubber. Filming all these acts separately makes the inextricable chaos of the car-industry almost seem extricable.

Master and His Apprentices shows the heads or masters of four workshops with their apprentices and collegues. The masters decide who stars in the portrait and who sits where, dominating the image.