Mounia Youssef - AfroVision
Text and photos: Kezia Kautto
AfroVision is Youssef’s stance on the mold of beauty that African women are trying to blend into. She emphasizes the importance of natural hair and natural beauty through the liberation from historical shackles. In her exhibition, she presents the “nappy” movement born in the 21st century, which accepts one's own Africanness and deviates afrohair from the Western standards.
Les femmes ont besoin de pouvoir. Women need power.
Youssef pays special attention to women as they face tougher standards. Hair is one of the tools by which an African woman can take power of herself. However, Youssef does not fail to mention education as well as other forms of power in which women can gain more freedom both from themselves and from the society in which they live in. Youssef calls her black-and-white series of images on display L’Hair du Temps, in which Beninese and Togolese women modeled displaying their natural hair.
Before the opening of the exhibition, students from Grand-Popo were invited to the site and were allowed to go through the works with the artist in peace. Youssef explained to them her views on natural African beauty and her desire to be proud of her own African self. She invited the young students to talk to her, and describe their own views and experiences.
In addition to the press, the opening was attended by more than 100 guests who were welcomed by Villa Karo's director Kwassi Akpladokou and cultural manager Georgette Singbe, Grand-Popo City Hall representative and Youssef's producer Adrien Guillot. Guests enjoyed a cocktail in the courtyard of Musée Karo and got to chat with Youssef and a few of her models.