Nigerian photographer embracing in vintage Yoruba style

Written by Helen Jennings, CNN

For his latest project, Nigerian photographer Oye Diran looked at his old family photos for inspiration. In particular, the classic Nigerian iro and buba style (a wrapped skirt and a special top) were taken by his parents’ elegant outfits, including his mother – often paired with a gele (headwrap).

“I was amazed at how attractive and rich these clothes looked and reminded how well my family and friends were dressed in my youth.” Diran wrote an email from where he now lives in New York. “The importance of iro and buba does not disappear over time, so I found this story to shed light on the beauty of my heritage to the world.”

Diran continued to search for more images from Nigeria from the 1960s to the 1980s, before creating the same vintage feel for “A Ti De” (“We Are Here”) featuring portraits of three women dancing, posing and having a good time. “It is known that the Yoruba people have found any reason to dress and celebrate,” referring to Nigeria’s second largest ethnic group. Said. “Traditional weddings are, for example, an opportunity to wear your best iro and buba, add accessories and show,” he said.

from Dirac

From Diran’s “A Ti De” photo series Credit: Oye Diran

From optimism that followed independence from Britain in 1960, through a devastating civil war and subsequent military coups, this project was a seismic and formative period for Nigeria. This was reflected in the country’s cultural landscape and ideas about clothing. Time Fela Kuti Encouraging rebellion and preaching pan-Africanism, Lagos’ most stylish residents mixed local fashion with western silhouettes. This appeals to today’s Nigerian image makers who have used the past to comment on neo-colonialism and redefine black beauty in the past. But Ogunbanwo, Ruth Ossai and Diran.
Diran originally studied business and worked on making events before calling as a photographer ten years ago. He taught himself his abilities and began to hone in a minimalist yet warm aesthetic, referring to famous West African photographers. J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keïta as effects. “These legends portrayed the excellence of their culture. I was inspired by the set designs, style and conceptual poses of their portraits.”
From Diran series

From Diran’s “A Ti De” series Credit: Oye Diran

Ojeikere’s famous archive documenting the complex hairstyles and hats of Nigerian women echoes not only in “A Ti De”, but also in Diran’s ongoing series “Gele”, which captures flamboyant headscarves with carefully tied head switches that act like crowns. “I started the series in 2017 as a way to interpret the symbolic meaning of gels and express the grandeur of African women,” he said.

From Diran's ongoing series

From Diran’s ongoing “Gele” series Credit: Oye Diran

Diran’s fashion and art photographs took place in both Vogue Italia and Afropunk, and his work was included in an exhibition at the United Nations in 2018. This year, “Makub” photograph of a woman’s delicate face and hands with an infinite pastel pink. won a LensCulture Exposure award. “‘Maktub’ means an Arabic word, ‘written’. The idea that our destiny is pre-arranged but still needs to be followed.” Said.

This year photo

This year, the “Makub” photo won Diran a LensCulture Exposure award. Credit: Oye Diran

Since debuting on the global African media platform in March NataalDiran received ample answers to “A Ti De” and his nostalgic appeal. “The feedback was greatly positive from Nigerians at home and all over the diaspora,” he said.

“People expressed the pride, inspiration and empowerment that the project gave them.” This is linked to Diran’s wider sense of duty to create images that speak from a positive, pan-African perspective.

See also  Retired NYC surgeon spread COVID-19 on American Airlines flight: report

“I want to continue to convey the essence of African or black ideologies as I break down the misinterpreted narratives of these cultures.” “I want to be part of the global power that illuminates culture from a diasporic perspective. And most importantly, to tell a lot of facts that are overlooked and silenced more often. As African photographers, I feel that this is our collective responsibility.”

You May Also Like

About the Author: Abbott Hopkins

Analyst. Amateur problem solver. Wannabe internet expert. Coffee geek. Tv guru. Award-winning communicator. Food nerd.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *