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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

A photographer’s goal of changing the world one snapshot at a time

Kachiside Madu’s compassion captures his purpose
Kachiside+Madu+at+his+%E2%80%9CHomeless+to+Heartfull%E2%80%9D+exhibit+on+Friday%2C+Nov.+17%2C+2023+posed+in+front+of+his+%E2%80%9CBlack+Jesus%E2%80%9D+black+and+white+portrait+at+the+Brickhouse+Gallery.+His+exhibit+features+over+8+different+black+and+white+pieces%2C+with+metal+framed+portraits%2C+canvas+and+prints.
Angie Kallas
Kachiside Madu at his “Homeless to Heartfull” exhibit on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023 posed in front of his “Black Jesus” black and white portrait at the Brickhouse Gallery. His exhibit features over 8 different black and white pieces, with metal framed portraits, canvas and prints.

Compassion, kindness and passion are three words Kachiside Madu would use to describe himself and the purpose behind his life story of capturing vulnerable photographs one image at a time. 

Madu is a Sacramento photographer, who alongside his Sony A7IV camera captures subjects of neglected and overlooked parts of the Sacramento community. 

“I feel like my purpose in this life is to tell, through my lens, the stories of those folks who have been misrepresented, misunderstood and oftentimes falsified through stereotypes,” Madu said. 

Using his compassion and talent he channels his purpose toward those who have been misplaced and unhoused. For the last couple of years he has set out to help those who are misfortunate find representation in and outside the media, without damaging their story. 

From late October to middle of November, Madu along with his mentor, Barbara Range, created and showcased a solo exhibit called “Homeless to Heartfull” at Range’s gallery.  The Brickhouse Gallery and Art Complex, in Sacramento showcases Madu’s pieces.

“His third eye is just unbelievable,” Range said. “It’s absolutely amazing how he can take a photo and the photo itself can speak. It’s like this loud voice jumping out from the photographs.”

Kachiside Madu and Barbara Range on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023 for the “Homeless to Heartfull” art talk at the Brickhouse Gallery in Sacramento. Madu discussed the inspiration behind his art work and the purpose behind his social justice photos. (Angie Kallas)

Madu believes he has always been a people person and due to his upbringing, he is able to capture meaningful and powerful pictures. 

“Both of my parents are immigrants from Nigeria,” Madu said. “So, that came with its fair share of challenges and seeing how society and how folks can be really cruel, sparked the interest of having a softer and kinder heart.”

From a young age, Madu knew he wanted to use his compassion and apply it to a greater purpose. So, after graduating from San Josè State with a bachelors in psychology and a masters degree in school counseling from the University of San Francisco he began his career in Sacramento as a school counselor at Edward Harris Middle School.  

Using his voice and talent, Madu brings awareness to the unhoused community in Sacramento in many forms. His exhibit, “Homeless to Heartfull” completely focuses on the unhoused and brings life to this often overlooked part of society. 

“There’s a lot of people out there who are being written off for the wrong reasons and we as a society are going off what we’ve been told to believe when it comes to displacement,” Madu said. 

He challenges these stereotypes and creates new narratives with his black and white photos that allow him to capture elements of vulnerability and rawness. 

Displayed along the walls of his “Homeless to Heartfull” exhibit, over eight of his most compelling pieces can be found. Art works such as “Black Jesus” conveys an intense beauty and understanding to those who look into the subject’s soulful eyes. 

Madu hopes his art inspires people and evokes an emotional change.

“I want to bring sadness,” Madu said. “I want to bring frustration. I want folks to challenge themselves to really think about things like, ‘What can I be doing to clean this problem up?’”

The “Homeless to Heartfull” exhibit on display on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023 in the Brickhouse Gallery. Some pieces included in the exhibit are posed black and white portraits and candids of the displaced community. (Angie Kallas)

Madu embraces his higher goal of helping the displaced by meeting and serving the unhoused in Sacramento on 1515 A St. every second Saturday of the month for the event he created called Solidarity Saturday. Madu and his chosen group of volunteers, serve over a 100 people with care packages of toiletries, batteries and more while also supplying food and good conversation to those around.

RELATED: Standing in solidarity one Saturday at a time

“I just wanted to challenge the community and stand in solidarity with those who are unhoused,” Madu said. 

Madu’s photographic journey started in 2013, when he was still living in San Francisco and wanted to create memories with his Canon Rebel T3 for his nephews and niece. As he got familiar with the ins and outs of his camera his art started to change and his purpose began to form. 

“I just really wanted to focus on documenting people who look like myself,” Madu said. “People who have been oppressed, people who have been faced with challenges and to properly allow themselves to tell their own stories.” 

His care towards the youth of education led him to find his hobby in photography and people like past students and coworkers such as Saody Freeman, have helped him find the courage to build his success. 

“He is a humanitarian at heart,” Freeman said. “He will go above and beyond for people that he loves and people that he doesn’t even know. He is just that kind of guy.” 

Freeman and Madu were both school counselors at Edward Harris Middle School. Their relationship extended outside the office and she has helped him expand his career by giving him the confidence and reassurance to pursue art as his full time career. 

As he grew his skill set and began to step away from counseling, photography became his main focus. He wanted to use his history of studying psychology to create a new narrative for those around him. 

“I try to use my psychological background of schooling to infuse my work, because my work is inspired around forcing people to have uncomfortable conversations,” Madu said. “ I’ve learned that on the other side of discomfort is growth.” 

Another social justice movement started by Madu and his friends, Kieem Baker and Kofi Ibsen called the Take Em Home Campaign. This donation ran campaign was created to supply students with books, filtered water and food in the city of Ghana. 

For the last year this campaign has been working on taking care of the people in Africa who may not be as fortunate as here in the United States. 

“It was a motivational inspiration to go back home and see the folks that we’ve been for the last year and half taking care of,” Madu said. “We did four community feeds in four different communities, we helped get them purified water and helped build their school administration.” 

Kachiside Madu discussing the purpose and inspiration behind his “Homeless to Heartfull” exhibit on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023 at the Brickhouse Gallery. Madu and his sister, Cassandra Madu, came up with the name one evening together, inspired by the purpose of his Solidarity Saturday event. (Angie Kallas)

Giving back and changing the world is all part of Madu’s character. He wants to bring recognition to those who are forgotten and help change their realities with empathy along the way. 

“Social justice work is not easy, but he has one of the purest hearts to me along with his eye,” Range said. “His work is genuine and it is authentic.” 

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Katelyn Marano, Copy Editor
(she/her) Katelyn Marano is a graduating senior with a major in journalism and a minor in English. She is currently in her second semester here at The State Hornet and is the copy editor for the spring 2024 semester. Katelyn enjoys reading and writing, and hope to take her degree into book publishing.
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