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Jessica Antola takes us on a vibrant journey through Sub-Saharan Africa where she open-heartedly captures the distinctive style and beauty of everyday life.
Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Togo – travelling mostly by car Jessica Antola went to all of thee places. The vignettes, portraits, and landscapes that emerge offer a compelling snapshot of contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa. There are two men on a motorcycle dressed head-to-toe in elaborate African wax textiles. A gold jewellery-clad Kumasi king performs a warrior dance. And a girl in an oversized straw hat steers a boat affixed with a patchwork sail.
None of the images was posed and none of the backgrounds was created. There is an astonishing variety of ways people create and define themselves daily, over and over again, through dress and ritual, work and play.
“I have always been captivated by how people around the world express themselves in relationship to their environments,” Antola writes in the intro. “No matter where we are from or where we go, we all carry our circadian clock inside us. Tethered to the sun, we live out the rhythms and routines of our daily lives.”
Africa is surely one of the most photogenic places on the planet. The vibrant, saturated colours, the crisp light, the energy and nature – everything here is to form a perfect image. And Antola does that with finesse and a fresh perspective of this magnificent, beautiful continent.
She allows herself to dig deeper into the roots of the place that many consider as the cradle of life – a place where it all began. She connects with the people and shows us that Africa is not all poverty and starvation but a colourful, magical land filled with happy, life-loving people.
Antola’s body of work is an invitation to go out and explore. And it delivers this urge to travel to all of those uncharted and improbable places from the very first sight.