Stephanie Nnamani

2018 - Ongoing

CORONATION OF THE KIN is a portrait-editorial designed to interrogate competing concepts of identity and togetherness within the construct of the African family unit. Its title reveals the intimacy and value the concept of "family" holds widely across the continent, likening the belonging to and creation of family to that of ascending into a space of royalty. It is important--again--to note that while family holds a multitude of variations, each maintain one persistent truth: kinship determines status.

It was inspired by a myriad of personal experiences as well as close cultural observations. Thematically, it focuses on the tradition and institution of marriage in a manner that addresses the disproportionate social positioning of women in African culture, the intimate connectivity of identity present in an inherently collectivist culture, and how both interact with defying and upholding internalisation of socially-prescribed scripts for performative masculinity and femininity with an intimate look at child-bearing as a testament to both.

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  • "A Woman of Ivory" -- image utilises the symbolism of the ivory to represent the woman's strength and assertion of independence where society insists a woman's greatness is often connected to the men she is related to. First, her father, her brothers (should she have any), and her husband--even her son(s).

  • The Crowning I -- a caricature-like approach to the consumption (literally and figuratively) of masculinity via bearing fruits and holding the title of "man of the house".

  • "Fruit of The Eye" -- depicting how the validity of womanhood is often closely connected to a woman's ability to perform adequately in the private sphere. Ability to bear children being primary. In some cases in African culture--namely, Nigerian--when a woman is unable to bear children, she is ostracised and considered unworthy/undesirable. Some husbands take another wife, often through the assistance of other family members.

  • "Bearer of Fruits I"

  • The Crowning II -- communicating society's role in determining roles to be fulfilled and Man behaves accordingly.

  • The Crowning III -- eventually said scripts are retained and internalised as part of the Man's identity.

  • "Portrait of A Woman".

  • "Portrait of a Woman (and a Woman)" -- In Igbo culture, when a woman's husband dies and she has no son or no child, it is considered culturally-permissible for her to marry a wife. And in this case, she becomes the husband. I created this image to communicate that as well as challenge the renewed rejection of homosexuality widely in Nigeria.