Artist Talk
We Are the Definers: Fashion and Photography in the New Black Vanguard
Oct 21, 2022
10:00 pm
11:00 pm
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A virtual conversation presented in conjunction with the exhibition The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion with fashion designer Sarah Diouf and fashion photographers Stephen Tayo, Daniel Obasi, and Lawrence Agyei. This conversation explores Black creatives in the fashion industry globally, how race and identity influences and impacts their work, and the importance of Black people controlling how Blackness is portrayed in media and fashion throughout the diaspora. The discussion will be moderated by fashion scholar Rikki Byrd. (Image: Stephen Tayo, Lagos, Nigeria, 2019)

This program is virtual. Once you confirm attendance with MoAD, look for an email with a link to join on zoom. Please check your spam or junk mail folder if you don't see the email from MoAD in your inbox.

You may also join us at the museum on Saturday, October 22 where we will project the virtual conversation in the MoAD Salon, and you can view the exhibition The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion.

Sarah Diouf is the founder Tongoro, a 100% Made In Africa digital native label designed, sourced and produced in Dakar, Senegal. Promoting local craftsmanship and investing in training, the brand long-term goal is to contribute to the development of garment production across Western Africa, opening a first facility in Dakar, Senegal. Betting on E-commerce to reach a global customer base, Tongoro has gained international brilliance since its launch in 2016 with the likes of Beyonce, Naomi Campbell, Burna boy (etc.) and was listed amongst Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2020. Prior to launching Tongoro, Sarah had already stepped foot in the fashion industry with Ghubar, a fashion, arts and culture magazine promoting diversity and creativity from the Arabic and African world she launched in 2009. Her work with the publication sparked interest and led to collaborations with brands such as Reebok & Audi, encouraging her to launch her own visual production agency under Ifren Media Group. Over the past 9 years, Sarah has been observing the African fashion market and saw a gap she thought she could fill ; « While most African brands were positioning themselves on the luxury segment at the time, I wanted to come up with something more accessible for people to experience the Made in Africa, and change their mind about the quality issues often associated to it (…) When building this brand, my goal was to tell a story of African Pride on a global stage — and fashion is a great tool and medium to do so.» Watch the documentary ‘MADE IN AFRICA’ (30min) on 

With his work, fashion, art, and culture photographer Stephen Tayo strives to offer social commentary on wealth, class, race, gender, and identity. As Influenced by his undergraduate studies in philosophy and an interest in contemporary anthropology, fashion and social justice, Tayo is a multidisciplinary artist who hopes to make work as impactful and thought-provoking as it is beautiful. He has created commercial work for clients like Gucci, Havana Club, Farfetch, Patta NL and editorial work for platforms like Vogue US, Dazed Magazine, the New York Times, the Guardian UK, and Antwaun Sargent’s The New Black Vanguard. He has been commissioned to photograph the campaign image for the Ngola Biennalle, and has shown exhibitions at the Lagos Photo Festival, the Corrosia Alamere in the Netherlands, the Palaise De Tokyo in Paris, the Rele Art Gallery Young Contemporaries annual exhibition, and the Ko Gallery in Lagos in 2020. He has also been nominated for the Dazed 100 and the British Fashion Awards.

Daniel Obasi is a Nigerian art director, stylist and photographer whose work is deeply aligned with advancing the scope of African narratives visually. In 2017, Daniel made his first major film and editorial work, “Illegal Project” on gender non-conforming expressions in an African setting. The project went on to launch his budding career as a Nigerian Artist who questions and challenges societal norms on sexuality, masculinity and gender roles. Daniel's aesthetics are best described as whimsical, soft, ethereal and Afrocentric. His 2018 afrofuturistic film, “An Alien in town” pays homage to old African cinema and advocates for Africans to own their narratives especially with regards to foreign influences. In 2022, Daniel Published his first photo book in collaboration with Louis Vuitton titled “Beautiful Resistance”. The book is a fictional and surreal visual essay pulling at subject matters such as; activism, feminism, Sexuality and Spirituality. His latest project is a documentary film on his home city Lagos made with Lonely Planet; here Daniel refers to the city as his muse and aims to redefine how Lagos is seen by celebrating its beauty and mystery. 

Lawrence Agyei (b.1990) is a Ghanaian photographer with footprints in Italy, living on Chicago's south side. Through Agyei's use of portraiture, the hidden languages help deep within the body of his subjects find comfort in revealing themselves through Agyei's lens. He had the pleasure of working with companies such as Apple, Google, Vanity Fair, Teen Vogue, Nordstrom, and The New York Times.

Rikki Byrd is an educator, curator and writer, whose work is dedicated to expanding knowledge about Black contemporary art and Black people’s relationship to fashion. Her writing has appeared in several academic journals, books, and exhibition catalogs, as well as popular media such as Teen Vogue, Artsy, and Hyperallergic. She has participated in speaking engagements at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Google, the CFDA, among several other arts, fashion and cultural organizations and companies. She is the editor of the Fashion and Race Syllabus, and founder of the Black Fashion Archive on Instagram. Rikki is currently a Ph.D. candidate in African American Studies at Northwestern University, where her research focuses on the way clothing and textiles are used in performances of mourning across the Black diaspora.

This program is presented in conjunction with the current exhibition New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion on view through March 5, 2023.

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