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Joana Choumali: Awoulaba

Artist Joana Choumali's new project Awoulaba/taille fine explores "the complex, contradictory notion of femininity, beauty and body image in contemporary Africa and, by extension, possibly, in every contemporary feminine world". Choumali photographs the practice on the Ivory Coast of modifying shop mannequins to give them fuller body shapes to reflect those generally considered beautiful and more representative of African women: wide hips, well-filled breasts, full arms. The mannequins are even painted in darker colors at times. This type of mannequin is called "Awoulaba”, which stands for “beauty queen” in Baule language from Côte d' Ivoire and alson reflect the current global trend of surgically enhanced bottoms. As well as documenting the craft of modifying the mannequins Choumali superimposes photos of body parts of real women over the 'ideal' shapes of the mannequins in a second series of photos:

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