Street Barbers in West African Cities by Andrew Esiebo


Street Barbers in West African Cities by Andrew Esiebo
Mali

Andrew Esiebo is a talented self taught photographer who was born in 1978 in Lagos, Nigeria. Andrew shoots a lot of travel and documentary photography, he uses pictures to tell the story of Africa’s largest metropolis and beyond.

For his project “Pride”, Esiebo documented the “barber culture” in West Africa. Their spaces, styles and practices revealed themselves extremely rich to explore issues such as (male) social identities, collective imaginaries and global cultures’ circulation in contemporary West African societies. His project has taken him on the road from Nigeria up to Mauritania, after crossing Benin, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Senegal and Mali.

Andrew has been awarded a number of artistic residencies by Institut Franicais (formerly Cultures France) Visa Pour Creation, Paris, Africa Beyond programme,Gasworks, London, Gyeonggi Creation Center, South Korea and at the Bag factory Art residency Johannesburg, South Africa.

Pride is a photographic exploration of the phenomenon of male hair barbing within West African cities.

I once met a barber in Lagos who recounted the ways in which his profession, despite being perceived as a common and unimportant, enabled him to interact with important people; he even counted an ex-President among his clientele. This, he explained, brought him a great sense of pride. It is this sense of pride and the various ways it is achieved that informs the basis of this project.

The project investigates the relationship between hairstyles and individual and collective identities, highlighting the social impact of hair in the African society. The pictures document variety of hair styles and capture in detail the spaces in which hair barbers operate throughout major Western African cities. The project looks at the material and aesthetics worlds of barber saloons/shops, the iconographies and symbols that create an intimate-public convergence of people from all walks of life.

-Andrew Esiebo

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