Beninese Laeïla Adjovi is a reporter, photographer, author, and artistic researcher based in Dakar who studied journalism and political science in France before working in India and the Pacific island of New Caledonia. While this background informed her self-taught photographic practice, her artistic approach brings together sound, painting, and drawing, alongside manipulation in the darkroom. In her work, she employs storytelling to interrogate relationships between different social classes, cultures, and worlds. In 2018, Adjovi began the series The Roads of Yemoja, parts of which constitute her contribution to O Quilombismo. The photographs and sound pieces depict forms of solidarity between peoples, including those of non-African descent. The interdisciplinary project searches for traces of the Yoruba water deity Yemoja, whose traditions are practised by communities on the West African coast, as well as across the Caribbean and South America. The work El Chino, for example, shows a religious leader, a descendant of Chinese indentured labourers who embraced Yemoja as a result of the close ties established between Chinese community workers and African people in the Caribbean. Elsewhere in the series, through her exploration of the relationship between Yoruba and Ewe-Fon cultural heritage in Cuba, Adjovi reflects upon disseminated collective memory and cultural hybridization.
Works in the exhibition: From the series The Roads of Yemoja (2018–ongoing): El Chino; Transatlantic fervor (photographic triptych), photo and sound installation, printed on photographic paper, laminated on alubond, framed, 80 × 64 cm; Atunwa, sound installation, 8' 40"; Eclat, sound installation, 7'; Transe. mission, sound installation, 6' 50". Courtesy of the artist