Fatoumata Diabaté was born in 1980 in Bamako, Mali. In 2002, she started a two-year training in photography at the Centre de Formation en Photographie in Bamako. She worked there as a technical assistant at the photo laboratory until 2009. She also studied at the Centre d’Enseignement Professionnel in Vevey, Swizerland. Her work focuses mainly on women, the younger generations, and the diaspora. She tried to shed light on skin bleaching habits amongst some African women in her series Chameleon (2018). With her project “Studio Photo of the Street” started in 2014, Diabaté set up an itinerant studio with the intent to recreate vintage photos by capturing people in black and white, surrounded by props and décor in various places. Influenced by the portrait studios in Africa’s colonial era, she wanted to recreate the social interaction between the photographer and her subjects in a cross-generational and multi-cultural context. Since 2013, she has been living in Saly, Senegal where she continues working on photographic projects.
Born in 1977 in Maputo, Mozambique, Filipe Branquinho grew up during the country’s civil war, surrounded by photojournalists who sparked his interest in photography. In 1997, he started a degree in architecture in Mozambique and continued his studies five years later in Brazil, where he trained in photography. Branquinho’s work explores the reality of Mozambique, the lifestyles of its inhabitants, its mythology, and its urban dynamics by reflecting on social issues such as class disparities, collective memory, and working conditions. His style combines the genres of portraiture and landscape photography with his view of architecture. His series Occupations (2011) consists of portraits in which people of various social groups pose in the heart of their work environment or home, depicting how individuals occupy their space in the urban fabric. In his series Showtime (2012), Branquinho composed various diptychs by juxtaposing old colonial buildings’ interior with images of female prostitutes posing in a sparsely furnished bedroom, showing how they occupied their time in their “working” environment.
Lola Keyezua was born in 1988 in Luanda, Angola. In 2014, she graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague. The following year, she moved back to her homeland and stayed there for five years. During her stay, she explored themes around black identity and representation using various media including photography, painting, and installations. The female body is a focal point in her creative process, allowing her to portrait pain and her very own version of a female revolution. Keyezua also found inspiration in the stories of impoverished people, visiting the neighborhood, slums, and dangerous places to understand better their struggles. This approach of contributing to social commentary on issues that she finds unsettling has been a hallmark in most of her work. In her series Fortia (2017), she depicts herself wearing sculptural masks made by Angolan men with physical disabilities, echoing the loss of her father at a young age because of diabetes and the loss of use of his legs that had followed because of his illness.