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Afro-Iran: Photographing Iran's Forgotten African Diaspora

Mahdi Ehsaei photographs Iranian communities of African descent in his new photo essay, 'Afro-Iran: The Unknown Minority.'

All images courtesy of Mahdi Ehsaei


Afro-Iran: The Unknown Minority is a new photo essay by photographer Mahdi Ehsaei that documents Iranian communities of African descent along the Persian Gulf. Images from the series were taken in the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas, a major slave post where thousands of enslaved Africans were sold to wealthy Persian families as servants, wet nurses and concubines. After slavery was officially abolished in Iran in 1928, the southern province became home to the descendants of these enslaved Africans as well as African sailors who settled in the region to find work.

Born in Germany to Iranian parents, Ehsaei told Thought Catalog in a recent interview that the "complexities of his dual heritage" formed the foundation for his growing interest in lesser-known facets of Iranian culture. With this project, Ehsaei hopes to bring Afro-Iranian communities that have existed on the fringes of mainstream Iranian society to the fore. In order to achieve this, Ehsaei has launched a Kickstarter campaign to produce a photo book that compiles portraits and essays from his travels. In an accompanying statement, he says:

"Afro-Iran shows a side of Iran, which is widely unknown even to Iranians: a minority of people who influenced the culture of a whole region by continuing their African heritage with their clothing style, their music, their dance and their oral traditions and rituals. The traditional and historical region with one of Iran’s most ethnically diverse populations is framed with unique landscapes. The photo book shows fascinating portraits which are not typical for the common picture of Iran. Afro-Iran reveals details documenting a centuries-long history of a community, which is often overlooked in Iran’s history, but which has even shaped the culture in Southern Iran."

Mahdi Ehsaei's Afro-Iran: The Unknown Minority is currently available for pre-order. Head here for more images from the series.

 

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Image courtesy of Daily Paper

Wekafore Releases Fela Kuti Inspired Collab With Daily Paper

The one-of-a-kind 'The Spirit Don't Die' capsule collection celebrates African heritage and a hope for a brighter future.

Amsterdam-based African streetwear brand Daily Paper has joined Nigerian fashion brand Wekafore in creating a unique capsule collection of note. The 'The Spirit Don't Die' collection is inspired by fashion and Nigerian activism icon Fela Kuti, but celebrates the bountiful beauty, potential, and heritage of Africans.

Nigerian designer Wekaforé Maniu Jibril, owner, and designer of the Wekafore brand has been hot since his 2013 debut. The brand has gone on to become a great success within the realm of West African fashion. Wekaforé represents a newer, more fearless generation of African designers and their latest collaborative collection tells the tale.

Daily Paper x Wekaforé 'The Spirit Don't Die' collectionImage courtesy of Daily Paper


The two popular brands share a rich history and intention to further African fashion's reputation in the world, as well as as a shared desire for raw necessity, organic growth, and authentic community engagement, development and, support. The fashion brands are making it known that street and casual wear are more than we once thought - fashion can be inclusive and fun. The stars truly aligned to bring us this partnership guided by similar core values and the hunger to celebrate Africa and her diasporas through fashion.

The Fela Kuti-inspired collection is filled with distinctive and bold pieces, honoring Africa's past while paving the way towards the future. Wekafore is known for their clear integration of West Africa's 1970's cultural golden age, and this limited collection speaks to those themes, making it a no-brainer to dedicate the line to the legendary King of Afrobeat, whose style never disappointed. It's clear to see how Kuti's influence inspired the exciting and vibrant creative renaissance seen in the collection. On using Kuti as his muse, Wekaforé says, "Like Fela, the pieces are very punk, very psychedelic, and very African at the same time. And that represents me 100%. And I think being able to speak that way through a platform like Daily Paper is a testament to contemporary African consciousness."


Image courtesy of Daily Paper

Daily Paper x Wekafore 'The Spirit Don't Die' Collection

Check out more of Daily Paper x Wekafore's collection 'The Spirit Don't Die' collection here.

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