Photos
From 'Weke' by Namsa Leuba.

This Stunning Photo Series Captures the Mystery and Beauty of Benin’s Voodoo Tradition

Swiss-Guinean photographer Namsa Leuba's new photo series challenges how the western gaze views African traditional religions.

Weke, a new photographic series by Swiss-Guinean art director and photographer Namsa Leuba, offers an intimate view into the voodoo religion and animist practices of the Republic of Benin. Leuba's portrayal results in "images based on contents of the local context which take a new form of life, rooted in artistic aesthetics and fantasy."

The artist lived in Benin, the birthplace of voodoo, for two-and-a-half months, participating in different ceremonies and rituals with voodoo priests for research into the religion. She portrays a concept of voodoo which "cannot be depicted visually," according to her artist statement. Leuba tells OkayAfrica she attempted to make the invisible to make it visible: "I show a fiction vision, different unreal and surrealist scenes with poetry and delicacy."

The title 'Weke' translates to "the visible and invisible universe, all things created, living, breathing or not" in Benin local language. Leuba's camera is also transformative in producing striking digital photography derived from ritual practice and ancient spiritual customs.

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Arts + Culture

Inside The Armory Show’s Game-Changing African Focus

The Armory Show’s African Focus section is the way of the future.

Yvette Mutumba and Julia Grosse, the curators behind the Armory Show's African Perspectives Focus. (Photo: Ginny Suss)
African artists were the heart of New York’s premier art event last week. The Focus section of the 2016 Armory Show , African Perspectives , brought the continent and the diaspora to the center stage of Pier 94. Its curators, Contemporary And co-founders Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba , were also the only women to curate an Armory Focus in the section’s seven-year history.

“To be in a space where we’re finally at the epicenter of the conversation, and not in the fringes or in the nooks and the crannies, is really great,” Shariffa Ali, a Kenyan-Ethiopian theater-maker in New York City, tells Okayafrica. “I love being able to walk into a space and see work by my peers and African contemporaries from my left, on my right, in front of me, behind me,” she says. “To be fully immersed is truly an amazing experience.”

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Arts + Culture

African Artists At London’s "1:54 Art Fair" Rethink Traditions

How do artists at London's 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair​ interpret African traditions and their role on the continent in 2015?

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