Photographer Joana Choumali has captured images of young African women in traditional clothing in her series "Resilients," bridging the gap between heritage and modern living. Many from this generation are told they aren't "real Africans," she says, as many have moved towards urban metropolitan lives, where it can become difficult to keep in touch with their ethnic roots.
Soukeyna (Aboure) – Arriving to the studio in Converse sneakers and a miniskirt, there was little to suggest Soukeyna was a descendent of the royal family of Grand Bassam, in Ivory Coast. But asking permission from the current king, the student borrowed an outfit and jewelry belonging to her great grandmother. Armed with a portrait of Soukeyna's ancestor aged 17, Choumali set about recreating a photograph four generations in the making. It was enough to reduce Soukeyna's mother to tears.
Marie-Nobeller Ahou (Baoule) – "During the photo shoot I was filled with emotions," said Ahou. "I had only just parted from the father of my daughter and just had a series of surgical operations. This session was therapeutic, a booster."
Madoussou Yare (Malinke) – Wearing a dress borrowed from her aunt, Yare confessed to Choumali that she rarely wears clothes like these. "According to her, being a modern African woman is being subject to a certain discipline and multiple constraints," says the photographer.
Fatma (Arabic Sudanese) – Participating alongside her sisters, Fatma says she "had the feeling of seeing them for the first time. I lived the whole experience through the eyes of another -- another 'me' that I met on that day."
Jahnolah (Fon) – "I felt beautiful, radiant, beaming at the thought of soon being a mother," said Jahnolah from Benin. "For my outfit, we used the favorite colors of my mother. I felt like I was her."
Amari Anifah (Yoruba) – "Thanks to the miracle of clothes I felt in the present and the past at the same time," said Anifah. "I felt in balance, at the right place. It was like a transportation."
Nabou (Fulani) – "I approached this photo shoot with great curiosity and modesty," says Nabou from Senegal. "I realized this was not just a physical transformation but an internal search operation... I felt vulnerable and strong at the same time. I represent all the women in my line and relive their stories."