Yannis Davy Guibinga
Based in Montreal, with origins in France and Africa,
Gabonese photographer Yannis Davy Guibinga
and paper sculptor Pauline Loctin combine their
respective mediums to create an exploration of
color as a form of expression
Bodypainting has been one of the earliest and most common forms of cultural and artistic expressions, regardless of whether it is done for religious, social or simply aesthetic reasons.
In Africa especially, bodypainting has historically had a significant place in many societies, often to signify one's social status or belonging to a religious group. In Ethiopia's Omo Valley, the Surma and Mursi tribes share a keen interest to bodypainting and extravagant decorations borrowed from nature. The technique and skill of body decoration is learned at a very early age, with mothers painting the babies who will later start to paint themselves. As a cultural manifestation, the art of painting and decorating oneself is of almost religious importance, despite its ephemeral and seemingly anecdotal character.
"Pigments" is a body of work by photographer Yannis Davy Guibinga and Makeup Artist Amal Afoussi exploring the cultural significance of bodypainting as a physical manifestation of Africans creativity and innovation. By borrowing the Surma and Mursi's free-flowing and ephemeral aspects of their artistic process, this series attempts to pay homage to these tribes while connecting it with very modern elements. A dialogue between traditional and contemporary is therefore created, with creativity at the center of the conversation. Through a new interpretation of the art of bodypainting, this series of images pays homage to some of the pioneers and forefathers of African creativity and artistic talent.
Photography: Yannis Davy Guibinga
Make-Up: Amal Afoussi
Models: Atlas Hapy, Yvenie Clementine, Maïmouna
Gabon - Canada , 1995
Yannis Davy Guibinga is a 27 year old photographer from Libreville, Gabon currently based in Montreal, Canada. His work primarily explores the manifold identities and cultures of the African continent and its diaspora. Guibinga’s narrative prowess, combined with his incisive eye for composition, has enabled him to establish an extensive portfolio and has led to international collaborations with brands such as Apple, Nikon, Squarespace and Adobe and artists such as Chance The Rapper. Guibinga is a natural storyteller, whose photographs are capable of evoking complex emotional responses alongside an innate appreciation for their refined aesthetic.
His portrait photography is a documentation of a new generation of Africans, unapologetically embracing their many identities and cultures in the face of globalization and Western cultural imperialism.
He has established himself as a leading voice in photography, from a TED Talk in 2017 to shooting the cover of Aesthetica Magazine. Yannis recently had his work unveiled at Art Basel 2022 in Basel Switzerland, and featured at the BET Awards 2022 as well as the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.