“Umoya,” I sought to capture the essence of the wind, both in its physicality and metaphorical significance. The name Umoya, meaning wind in Changana, perfectly embodies the concept behind this image. As the personification of the wind, the subject’s movements are graceful and understated, mirroring the fluidity of the wind itself.
What sets this photograph apart is the deliberate juxtaposition of nudity and the Pwo mask. In contemporary society, female nudity is often stigmatized and associated with objectification and pornography. However, by incorporating the Pwo mask, a revered Chokwe mask genre, I aimed to challenge these perceptions.
The Pwo mask holds deep cultural significance among the Chokwe people of Southern Africa, specifically in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia. While representing a female ancestor, it is typically worn by male dancers. This intentional contradiction symbolizes the fecundity and influential role of women within Chokwe society.
Through this photograph, I aim to challenge societal norms, and celebrate the strength and importance of women in our world.
The protagonist cradling a chicken invokes the mystique of omens, perceiving the unseen through the fowl’s eyes. Symbolically, chickens’ ties to unexpected transformations amplify their prophetic essence in waking life. Drawing inspiration from time-honored augury practices, where birds conveyed divine messages, the image tantalizes the imagination with its enigmatic allure. The viewer is compelled to reflect upon the profound connection between human intuition and the enigmatic realm of the unknown.
My name is Douglas Condzo, and I am an independent self-taught visual artist from Mozambique, currently based in Lisbon. My work spans across various creative fields, including documentary, journalism, fashion, and music. My artistic style is heavily influenced by African and Mozambican culture, as well as Afrofuturism.
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