Photographer, Ayo Akinwande sent these stunning images to us and we knew we had to share. Here’s what he says about the inspiration for the project.

***
Òrékeléwà (which means “Beauty” in the Yoruba language) was the first phase of the photography project titled ‘Women of Africa’, an on-going, long-term series that explores the beauty, strength and values of the African woman motivated by the need to counter misconceptions and depictions of women from the continent in images of poverty, starvation and misery.

I began photographing the series in February 2014. The initial challenge was convincing the women to collaborate with me on the project. After making several trips to explain my ideas to them, the images were created in stages in different locations where the women resided. It was a collaborative effort with a number of make-up artists and a stylist over a 9-month period.

The visuals utilised modern-day gadgets and accessories in traditional settings and landscapes to create a unique narrative of juxtaposition, with the images playing the role of bridging the gap between the old and the new.
1

1-10-400x600

2

2-8-400x600

3-6-400x600

4-6-400x600

5-5-400x600

17-2-400x600

6-4-400x600

18-1-400x600

7-3-400x600

8-4-600x400

10-2-600x400

11-2-600x400

12-2-600x400

13-2-600x400

14-2-600x400

15-2-600x400

19-1-600x400

20-1-600x400

21-600x400

22-600x400

23-1-600x400

24-600x400