[On fashion and city life in Dakar]

Sometimes the fragility of lived experience is in poignant contrast to the commemorative capacity of photographs.

I had acquaintances that separated after a few months (of marriage) due to financial hardship.

Yet the video of their week long Toucouleur wedding circulated and was replayed among relatives long after their marriage deteriorated.

In this case, visual images not only created memory but also were the last traces of a fleeting effort to found a household amidst socioeconomic collapse.

SHAMA PRINCESS: Aniko Lichi Szatmari. [Model, makeup, stylist -Damali], 2019.

Amid deepening socioeconomic crisis in Dakar, visual images intensified the transformation of local practices like mural painting, fashion design and sartorial display.

These practices accelerated the formative role of creative production under crisis.

As a new social order emerges, they recuperate the colonial city for the creation of transnational urban spectacles…..they disperse the generation of images through popular streets and market stalls.

They foment contests over what is beautiful.

Most especially, embedded in local practices of self and community making, popular photography reframes the jeopardized self to highlight mastery, recognition and renewal amidst threatening times.


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