DYNAMIC AFRICA

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Posts tagged "togo"

Rissa Seidou has been a police officer for eight years. Now in her late thirties, she was born in Togo in West Africa and grew up in France. When she was 20 her parents brought her to Sweden. Sweden had yet to join the European Union and didn’t recognise her French education. So she had to go back to high school, into a class of 16-year-olds.

Despite opposition from friends and family, Rissa decided she wanted to join the police.

"My family laughed at me and said it wouldn’t be possible, because they’d never seen a police officer with African parents. But I wasn’t going to give up."

Rissa says she is the first Swedish police officer with two African parents.

She chooses her words carefully when asked if she has experienced racism from her police colleagues.

"I had a little bit of a tough time at the police training school. And when I left, I think the police, I mean the institution, was not so prepared to receive a woman with an African background. I didn’t fit. I was a little bit different.

"There are always some people who don’t believe that a foreigner can also be a police officer.

"I cannot say there are not racist police officers," says Rissa. "If I say that, I am lying to you."

And did she think, as was widely reported, that police officers had used racial insults during the riots?

"Yeah," she says, "I think it’s possible."

Rissa is a neighbourhood police officer, based in Kista, a suburb adjacent to Husby, north of Stockholm city centre. Nearly 85% of Husby’s population of 12,000 are either first or second-generation immigrants. Unemployment is high, particularly among men under 25, and educational achievement is low.

Husby is where the riots began, riots that spread first to other Stockholm suburbs and then into the provinces. Cars and buildings burned for several nights and young men pelted the police and firefighters with stones.

The disturbances exposed Sweden’s reputation for tolerance and equality to international scrutiny. They also exposed fragile relations between the police and some of the residents of Sweden’s more deprived communities, some of whom complained of racism.

The reasons for the riots are disputed. Some people in Husby connect them to an incident a few days earlier in which a police officer had shot an elderly man dead in his flat in Oslogatan. The police said he had been threatening people with a knife.

"The people in Husby thought the police reacted wrong and they did this to punish the police," says one local teenager about the riots.

Another young man points to more general dissatisfaction. “The people are tired,” he says. “They are stopped by the police three or four times a day. People who are not from Sweden have a lot of trouble with the police here.”

Read more about Rissa Seidou’s experience as a police officer in Sweden.

Portraits taken by Togolese photographer Cornélius Augustt Yao Azaglo.

Unsure of where exactly these were taken but I’m certain that they were taken in West Africa.

Click the photos for captions.

studioafrica:

Photographer CORNELIUS AZAGLO 

Born in 1924, photographer Cornelius Azaglo grew up in Pkalémé, Togo. Aged 19, he bought his first Kodak camera and began taking photographs on a whim. In the early 1950s, moved to Burkina Faso where he came under the guidance of two professional photographers who trained him and inspired him to develop his artistic practice. Moving again in 1955, this time to Cote d’Ivoire, he opened his own studio “Studio Du Nord”. Azaglo worked in his studio, but also took to his bike armed with his camera and a swatch  of white cloth to take pictures of the people on the fly. He continues to take photographs today.
 
He is represented by Gallery 51

Black and white portraits taken by Togolese photographer Cornélius Augustt Yao Azaglo.

These photographs of elderly people were taken between 1950-75 of people living in Korhogo, a village in northern Ivory Coast.

manufactoriel:

Cornelius Azaglo
Azaglo grew up in Pkalémé -a town in Togo- where he was born in 1924. Giving in to a whim, he buys a Kodak camera at age 19. In the fifties, he settles in Burkina Faso where he gets to know two professional photographers that will lead him into the realm of photographic techniques and in whose presence he becomes aware of the enormous possibilities of this art.Azaglo becomes obsessed with photography and works both in and outside of his studio. In 1955, he moves once again, this time to the Ivory Coast, where he opens his own “Studio Du Nord”.

Like Depara, he gets around on a bike, only not at night but during the daytime. Armed with his camera and a simple piece of white cloth, he captures the images of the people he meets. For most of the farmers of Senufo, this is their first encounter with a photographer ever.Far from trying to look better than they are, they are not ashamed to show their sun worn faces, rough from the hard work they do. Politics enter azaglo’s career at the first voting round after the independence: since a passport in necessary to vote, Azaglo is asked to provide the pictures. Fascinated with his art as Azaglo is, he is still working today.

manufactoriel:

Cornelius Azaglo

Azaglo grew up in Pkalémé -a town in Togo- where he was born in 1924. Giving in to a whim, he buys a Kodak camera at age 19. In the fifties, he settles in Burkina Faso where he gets to know two professional photographers that will lead him into the realm of photographic techniques and in whose presence he becomes aware of the enormous possibilities of this art.

Azaglo becomes obsessed with photography and works both in and outside of his studio. In 1955, he moves once again, this time to the Ivory Coast, where he opens his own “Studio Du Nord”.
Like Depara, he gets around on a bike, only not at night but during the daytime. Armed with his camera and a simple piece of white cloth, he captures the images of the people he meets. For most of the farmers of Senufo, this is their first encounter with a photographer ever.

Far from trying to look better than they are, they are not ashamed to show their sun worn faces, rough from the hard work they do. Politics enter azaglo’s career at the first voting round after the independence: since a passport in necessary to vote, Azaglo is asked to provide the pictures. Fascinated with his art as Azaglo is, he is still working today.

Inter Milan has been hit with a $58,600 by UEFA after being found guilty of “improper conduct” following allegations its fans racially abused Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor.

The Togolese striker, who scored a precious away goal to take Tottenham through to the next round during last month’s Europa League tie, appeared to be subjected to monkey chants, while a fan was also seen with an inflatable banana.

Inter won the match 4-1 but crashed out of Europe’s second-tier competition on the away goals rule with Adebayor’s strike proving crucial.

The Italian club was also charged with “insufficient organization” and “throwing of missiles and/or fireworks.”

Inter has already been punished in domestic competition after the Italian football authorities found its fans guilty of racially abusing former players Mario Balotelli and Sulley Muntari, who now play for fierce rival AC Milan.

The club was fined $65,500 for the incident which took place in March, while it was also forced to pay out $22,700 after fans sang racist chants about Balotelli during a Serie A game against Chievo.

(read more)

Happy Independence Day to Togo!

On 27 April 1960, in a smooth transition, Togo severed its constitutional ties with France, shed its UN trusteeship status, and became fully independent under a provisional constitution with Olympio as president.

A new constitution in 1961 established an executive president, elected for 7 years by universal suffrage and a weak National Assembly. The president was empowered to appoint ministers and dissolve the assembly, holding a monopoly of executive power. In elections that year, from which Grunitzky’s party was disqualified, Olympio’s party won 90% of the vote and all 51 National Assembly seats, and he became Togo’s first elected president.

x

Models Liya Kebede & David Agbodji photographed by Mikael Jansson for an editorial in Vogue Japan, ‘The Vanishing Underground’.

africanartagenda:

Joseph Amedokpo

Profile

Country: Togo

Style: Abstract personification, contemporary, magical realism, fine art

Medium: oil on canvas

Fun Fact: He is a simple man, an ecofriendly simple man; Amedokpo paints using locally available oils and his canvases are recycled flour sacks, washed and stretched. His studio forms part of his family compound; a tin roof shelters him from the African sun and seasonal rains.

Quote:

Red is my favorite color,” says Joseph. “From red I can make so many other colors. It is very important in our traditions, too. Red is the color of blood, which is life, and our soil, which feeds us. And red is one of the main colors of many of our gods, like Mamiwata, who can heal the sick.

Paintings

1. Shango- God of Thunder

2. Devil’s cooking pot

3. Titleknown

4. The Initiation of the Voudou maidens

5. Birds KIngdom

6. Angere stilt dancers

Dell picked Joseph’s paintings for their Computer covers, the statement was: His paintings touch on the failures and weaknesses of people, as well as their core strength, their hopes. The aids crisis in Africa. How all kings eventually dance naked, brought down to earth with the rest of us. 

His art covers a wide swath of the old and the new, in this area, and he has seen some success as his paintings are increasingly sought out and collected internationally. He hopes his participation in Project Red will expose his art to more people, and he is glad that his paintings will be helping fight aids in Africa.  

A map showing the countries that have made it to the quarterfinals (yellow) of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

They are:

  • Mali
  • South Africa
  • Cape Verde
  • Cote D’Ivoire/Ivory Coast
  • Nigeria
  • Ghana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Togo

South Africa is the only country outside of West Africa to make it to this stage.

vintageblackbeauty:

Marché de Lomé. Vendeuse de pâte à beignet

c1945-1950

Painted Peak milk advertising wall mural in Lome, Togo

(via africaineries)

r4development:

Sam Todo, a student in Togo, builds a robot made out of old TV parts and used electronics.

(via obruniradio)

A week of activity centred around the worship of voodoo culminates when people from across Benin, as well as Togo and Nigeria, descend on Ouidah for the annual voodoo festival.

Voodoo is more than a belief system, it is a complete way of life, including culture, philosophy, language, art, dance, music and medicine.

(source)

37thstate:

“Self-portraiture is a way of writing without words. My aim is to reveal the deepest parts of myself.”

Hélène Amouzou plays with the photographic medium to create ephemeral and ghostly self-portraits. She captures herself or her belongings (often her clothes) in an empty room with peeling floral wallpaper. In many of the images she includes a suitcase as a recurrent symbol of her state of flux and transit. The photographs were taken during a two year period when Amouzou was seeking asylum in Belgium and waiting for her official residency visa.

Amouzou acknowledges the influence of American photographer Francesca Woodman (1958 – 81) but she produces her own distinctive and haunting imagery, which speaks of the contemporary issue of the displacement of people and those in exile. She works with film rather than digital media, preferring the effects of chance and serendipity and she exploits the use of long exposures.

These photographs reveal a constant questioning and search for the subject’s identity. Notions of freedom and legitimacy are explored in a world of bureaucracy and inequalities. Amouzou captures feelings of exclusion and feeling stigmatised by the lengthy official process. Those with permanent residency rights can only imagine the insecurity and daily worry of the possibility of being sent back to an unsafe place and the photographs reveal this sense of impermanence. Her ghostly image haunts each frame and hovers in the no man’s land between absence and presence.

Biography
Born in 1969 in Togo. She now lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. She is currently studying at the Academy of Drawing and Visual Arts of Molenbeek-St-Jean.
Her practice is photography based.

Previous shows include Bozar de Mons in Belgium in 2011/12; Faculté Universitaire Saint Louis in Belgium in 2012; Centre de la Papisserie in Belgium in 2012; Photoquai 2011, Paris; Marché de la photo, Brussels 2010.