1 / 4       © Joana Choumali, from the series Resilients, 2014.
2 / 4       © Joana Choumali, from the series Resilients, 2014.
3 / 4       The entrance to the exhibition Resilients by Joana Choumali. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.
4 / 4       During the visit to the exhibition Resilients by Joana Choumali. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.

Resilients

It is a work that deals with identity, traditions and perception of themselves, that proposed by the Ivorian photographer Joana Choumali at the Cavallerizza of Lucca. A work conceptually sophisticated, that speaks in feminine, and that exploits the immediacy of the portrait to show the outcome of a ritual that allowed the stars of the series to take a path of rediscovery of their roots and, with them, of a part of themselves normally set aside, if not deliberately hidden or denied.
The women portrayed by Choumali are indeed African women today, professional emancipated well-rooted in contemporary society. Modern women – in their way of thinking to dress, to live and deal with everyday life – in which the photographer has asked them to pose wearing the clothes of their ancestors. To dispose of their clothes and wear the traditional ones that belonged to their ancestors has therefore triggered a mechanism of identification / recognition that has allowed these women to live «an almost religious contemplation. Rediscovering, through gestures of dressing, fabric and hairstyles, the indissoluble bond that unites each women with the women of the generations that preceded them, but above all the importance of the rediscovery and the contact with the roots to fully build their identity». As explains the exhibition's curator Azu Nwagbogu «The perception of African women, historically and in the contemporary visual culture, is limited to those commonly considered sacred traditions. But there is a gradual evolution in the reality of the lives of African women. An ability to mutate and adapt, while remaining anchored to their roots and traditions, capable of remaining true to themselves, just like the earth from which they came. An elasticity that transforms into resilience».
A work which therefore proposes, through the exhibition clothes, hairstyles, jewellery and traditional jewellery, a complex discourse on the sense of belonging and what it means today to be an African woman. A transversal way to allow the past to communicate with the present, and the present to give us back a different perspective on contemporary African society, still too often flattened on stale clichés and stereotypes. A conceptual and figurative mechanism already used by the Ivorian photographer, who was recently a guest of Photoquai with the work Hââbré - la dernière génération, dedicated to another aspect tied to tradition and always developed, with the right differences, through the forms of portrait. Those of Choumali are portraits full of meaning, of cross references and subtexts that require time and attention, and perhaps at Photolux deserved to be exposed in a larger space, which would have allowed them to be observed at the correct distance even in the presence of other people. [ S. B. ]

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RESILIENTS
by Joana Choumali
Cavallerizza | 21 November - 13 December 2015
admission fee: 10,00 €

– – –

[ INTERNAL RESOURCES ]
Photolux 2015: the exhibitions
[ video ] Sacred and Profane: interview with Enrico Stefanelli
Photolux 2015 on FPmag

[ EXTERNAL RESOURCES ]
Joana Choumali
Hââbré - la dernière génération at Photoquai 2015
Photolux Festival 2015

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published on 2015-12-01 in NEWS / EXHIBITIONS

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