“Borrowed Identities” is a portrait series that sets its gaze on the profound impact of migration on memory and selfhood within a group in a community, and examines how fashion serves as a bridge, allowing them to reconnect with the fading echoes of their would-be true identities.
Long immersion in the vibrant tapestry of Makoko and encounters with a generation of young individuals whose roots transcend the borders of Nigeria, hailing predominantly from the diverse mosaic of francophone African nations, revealed how connections have been forged with their new homes either from birth or an early, impressionable age while retaining an indelible trace of their origin’s essence.
The dichotomy between their present reality and the echoes of their heritage forms a poignant narrative, unfolding their story in dual hues. Their fabrics speak in high-contrast black and white, a reminder of fading memories, yet evoking a cultural juxtaposition within their daily lives. Simultaneously, the vivid colour film simulation paints their present, framed within nuances of the Lagos cosmopolis, which, like a masterful weaver, shapes the very fabric of individual existence.
Here Ankara, a cloth steeped in tradition, takes center stage—a vibrant emblem of appropriation in which every thread bears witness to a unique history adorned with motifs that echo distant francophone realms. It claims the mantle of Benin Republic’s national attire, a paradox manifest in its European origins as Dutch wax, and within which yet another layer of identities borrowed by these young families is unearthed, weaving a vibrant narrative of cultural metamorphosis.