Mrs Djeneba, 2013


Limited edition

Print on Baryta paper


CM H 90 W 60

IN H 35.43 W 23.62

Certificate of authenticity



Mrs Djeneba, 2013

This work is part of the "Hââbré" series by the artist Joana Choumali. Hââbré is the same word for writing / scarification” in Kô language from Burkina faso.
Scarification is the practice of performing a superficial incision in the human skin. This practice is disappearing due to the pressure of religious and state authorities, urban practices and the introduction of clothing in tribes. Nowadays, only the older people wear scarifications. During my research, all I found were pictures from the beginning of the century, and only a few contemporary images. I also had trouble finding people to photograph because of their rarity. I used Studio portraits with the same background and same lighting to portray them in a neutral kind of way.

No excuse, no judgement.

This fact leads us to question the link between past and present, and self-image depending on a given environment. Opinions (sometimes conflicting) of our witnesses illustrate the complexity of African identity today in a contemporary Africa torn between its past and its future. This “last generation” of people bearing the imprint of the past on their faces, went from being the norm and having a high social value to being somewhat “excluded”. They are slowly becoming the last generation of scarified african people, living in the same city / Abidjan. They are the last witnesses of an Africa of a bygone era.

Joana Choumali

Joana Choumali, born in 1974, is visual artist/photographer based in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. She studied graphic arts in Casablanca (Morocco) and worked as an art director in an advertising agency before embarking on her photography career. She works mainly on conceptual portraits, mixed media and documentary photography. Much of her work focuses on Africa, and what she, as an African, learns about the innumerable cultures around her. Her work allows her to explore the assumptions she has and nurtured her world views. 

In her latest works, Joana embroiders directly on the images completing the act of creating the photograph image with a slow and meditative gesture. Her most recent works are unique obects enriched by her choice of textiles and sense of color. 

Joana has exhibited her work at the Museum of Civilizations-Abidjan, the Donwahi Foundation for Contemporary Art-Abidjan, at the Rotonde des Arts Contemporary Art Center - Abidjan, at the Vitra Design Museum-Basel, at the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden- Marrakech, at the Museum of photography -St Louis, Senegal, at the Tropen Musuem –Amsterdam at the International Photography Biennale of Bamako, at the Photoquai Biennale (Quai Branly Museum- Paris), at the Lagos Photo Festival, and PhotoVogue festival. In 2014, she won the CapPrize Award and the 2014 Emerging Photographer LensCulture Award. In 2016, she received the Magnum Emergency Grant Foundation, and the Fourthwall Books Award in South Africa.

In 2017, she exhibited her series "Translation" and "Adorn" at the Pavilion of the...

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50 Golborne

50 Golborne investigates the convergence between contemporary art, design, and craft. Breaking down the spurious boundaries that separate these creative fields, 50 Golborne supports and promotes ambitious creative projects developed by international artists, designers, and makers.

The gallery particularly supports work that portrays and interrogates the ways in which the African continent plays a dynamic and significant role in a fast-changing global landscape.

Catering to a public of art and design collectors and connoisseurs, the gallery’s mission also extends to making its projects visible and accessible to the local community through an education programme centred around issues of urbanity and identity.


50 Golborne Road
London, United Kingdom
W10 5PR

Opening Hours:
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Saturday 11am to 6pm

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Curated by 50 Golborne

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