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Roger DaSilva’s forgotten photos show glamor of 1950s Senegal

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Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

A wedding party crams into a small car. Sharply-dressed men pose for the camera in a nightclub. A short-haired woman stands over a Vespa in a patterned dress and sunglasses.

Roger DaSilva’s glamorous photos of 1950s and 1960s Senegal may have been shot in black and white, but they are alive with color.

Now, a new selection of the late photographer’s images has been brought to light, after 75,000 of his long-lost negatives were found at his home. They paint a vibrant, celebratory picture of life in the West African country as it headed towards independence from colonial France.

Recovered from DaSilva’s house by his son following his death in 2008, around 100 images from the archive have been painstakingly restored by the US-based Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. “A lot of the negatives were somewhere between being in poor shape and almost total disintegration,” said the organization’s executive director, Nicholas Fox Weber, in a phone interview.

What they reveal is a rarely-seen world of jazz shows, nightclubs and stylish cars in Senegal’s capital, Dakar. While DaSilva was primarily a portrait photographer, he also spent time documenting street scenes and weddings, among much else.

The restored photos were all taken in the decade before — and years immediately after — April 1960, when Senegal secured independence from France in one of the more peaceful and politically stable transitions from colonial rule.

A band plays in 1952. Credit: The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Xaritufoto / Le Korsa

But as well as demonstrating what Weber called “a unique spirit of optimism” in the postwar era, the archive also shines a light on the artistic sensibilities of a photographer whose legacy has been largely forgotten.

“When we know about Roger DaSilva — and (what) is consistent in both his well-known work and these decrepit negatives — is that he was, by instinct, drawn to the human smile, the human skills of dancing and making music, and human laughter,” Weber said.

High society insider

The opulence depicted in the images seemingly reflects DaSilva’s jet-setting lifestyle. The photographer operated among Senegal’s burgeoning high society, and the restored archive includes an image of the country’s first post-independence president, Leopold Senghor, and a shot of DaSilva shaking hands with jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald at the World Festival of Negro Arts, held in Dakar in 1966.

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Roger DaSilva with jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald. Credit: The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Xaritufoto / Le Korsa

Yet, DaSilva’s photography career began in far from glamorous circumstances. Born in Benin, he served in the French army, where he photographed injured soldiers, burn victims and concentration camp survivors.

Following World War II, he settled in Dakar and later set up a studio in the city. DaSilva’s son Luc, a curator, recalled its lively atmosphere.

“His studio was a place of gaiety for those who came to be immortalized in front of his camera. Affable, with a lot of humor and relaxing words to put everyone at ease, it was nice to be there,” he said in an email interview, later adding: “He was often surrounded by all sorts of artist friends and other intellectuals.”

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A car parked up outside Roger DaSilva’s studio in Dakar. Credit: The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Xaritufoto / Le Korsa

Although well known in Senegal, DaSilva’s international recognition is belated — he never held an exhibition of his work during his lifetime. Luc has helped to preserve and promote his father’s — and Africa’s — photographic heritage through his organization Xaritufoto.

“One thing is certain: He was very present in the life of Dakar, going from one community to another frequenting all layers of the population, always being well accepted,” Luc said of his father. “And he knew the world. His education and elegance allowed him to be comfortable in all circumstances — everywhere and with everyone.”

A selection of Roger DaSilva’s photos is showing at the Also Known As Africa (AKAA) fair in Paris from Nov. 9-11, 2019. Proceeds from the archive will support the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation educational and medical work in Senegal.



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Susan Choi and Sarah M. Broom Score Top Honors at the National Book Awards

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Top honors for the 2019 National Book Awards went to women. Susan Choi took home the fiction award and Sarah M. Broom the nonfiction award. The Los Angeles Times reported on the ceremony, held last night in New York.

Choi was recognized for her fifth novel, “Trust Exercise.” Set in the ’80s, the story centers on a group of friends at a performing arts high school. Choi’s other books include “A Person of Interest” and “American Woman,” the latter of which was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Fiction finalists included Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s “Sabrina & Corina: Stories,” a collection of stories centered on Latinas of indigenous ancestry, Laila Lalami’s “The Other Americans,” a murder mystery about a Moroccan immigrant, and Julia Phillips’ “Disappearing Earth,” which takes place in the aftermath of two young sisters disappearing on the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula of Russia.

Broom was celebrated for her debut memoir, “The Yellow House.” In it, she revisits 100 years of her family’s history, and explores their relationship to their house in New Orleans.

Tressie McMillan Cottom’s “Thick: And Other Essays,” an exploration of beauty, media, and money, and Carolyn Forché’s “What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance,” which sees its author’s life forever changed when a mysterious stranger appears on her doorstep, were among the nonfiction finalists.



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How Anifa Mvuemba Is Cultivating The Intersection Of Fashion And Versatility

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As a contemporary women’s wear designer who creates statement, curve inclusive apparel for women, Anifa Mvuemba, who was previously known as a customs and alterations seamstress, has gained a great deal of recognition as the founder and lead designer of Hanifa. Since the launch of the brand in 2012, Anifa has designed collections featuring an array of styles, colors, and textures that cater to a woman’s body.

Her desire is to glorify God with her fashions and her creativity. Thorough and chic, Anifa Mvuemba is a Congolese, DMV raised visionary who is as thoughtful as her designs.

I got a chance to chat with Anifa as we discussed money management, the power of taking the road less traveled and scaling and expansion.

On making yourself marketable: Social media is such a powerful tool. If you’re a business today and you’re selling a product and you don’t have an Instagram – it’s almost like suicide to your business. In terms of marketing – it’s really important to understand your business, your product and understand how you want the world to perceive it. The biggest thing for me is my photos. Before a customer even gets to feel the fabric or try on the garment online they see the images first. Every time I put an image out into the world, I want someone to feel like “I have to have this.” I spend a lot of time on my imagery.

Using your resources:  The year that I started Hanifa I received a really nice tax return. I was 21 at the time and I  knew that I could either go out and blow it or use it towards my business. I didn’t have the most solid financial background so I used that money as my first investment. A lot of people feel like to start a business you need to have $100,000 – you can literally just start with what you have. Also, there’s so much information out there – I like to refer to myself as The Google Queen – you can find anything on the internet.

On effective money management: Without some type of understanding of your financials – you’ll be in a constant cycle of making money and then losing money. I went through that. I had to get real with myself and start to understand what was happening with my money. I got an accountant and financial advisor and began to take small steps towards learning my financials. Once you dive deeper and start to learn more about how money works it’s really not a scary thing. You can sit in meetings with investors and breakdown your finances with ease.

On taking the road less traveled: The most important thing is to always have a vision. Also, always remember why you started and remain as authentic and genuine as possible. If that stays consistent then that’s what’s going to bring the clients, funding, or whatever you’re seeking in your business.

What does the next 5 years look like for Hanifa? We opened our first brick and mortar in January of this year. We’re working on transitioning out of Baltimore and into D.C. Also, working on a manufacturing company where I help emerging designers (like myself) find the resources they need to thrive in this industry.

For more information, please visit: hanifa.co



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WINTER CAPSULE WARDROBE: Winter Wardrobe Minimal Outfit Ideas with Everlane [AD] | Mademoiselle

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AUTUMN/WINTER CAPSULE WARDROBE: Winter Wardrobe Essentials with Everlane [AD] | Today I’ve partnered up with Everlane to share an Autumn/Winter Capsule Wardrobe (as well as a peek at my maternity style). I’m sharing six key winter basics from Everlane, and showing how I pair them in over 20 outfits. Everything featured is linked below! x

Everlane are offering free shipping for Thanksgiving! Starting Weds 20 November at 9pm PT ending on November 21st at 9pm PT, you can get free 2 day shipping on all U.S. orders and free express shipping on orders $100 or more.

BLOG: http://www.mademois-elle.com
INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/mademoisellejaime
PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/mademoisellejaime/
EMAIL: jamielee@mademois-elle.com

SHOP MY EVERLANE EDIT: http://bit.ly/2oSb8DV

SHOP MY WARDROBE: https://www.depop.com/mademoisellejaime/

ITEMS FEATURED
Everlane re-cashmere stroopwafel mock neck sweater in ‘heathered sand’ (size S) – http://bit.ly/34dDqKo
Everlane alpaca sweater in ‘almond’ (size S) – http://bit.ly/312eYt1
Everlane black mock neck top (size XS) – http://bit.ly/2FwcU4k
Everlane boucle sweater in ‘blue lagoon’ (size S) – http://bit.ly/2O9N0Zb
Everlane cashmere ribbed mockneck in ‘heathered chai’ (size S) // COMING SOON
Everlane white cotton shirt (size US4) – http://bit.ly/2W3NH8u
Lilysilk black silk blouse (size M) – http://bit.ly/2D5oiT6

Glassons black/white polka dot dress (size NZ10) // old – http://bit.ly/31e6XC5 OR http://bit.ly/2Ad6dB2
Country Road black ribbed midi dress (size XS) – http://bit.ly/2OpAp4w

Realisation Par leopard skirt (size S) – https://realisationpar.com/the-naomi-wild-things/
RP leopard skirt affordable dupe – http://bit.ly/2VeQkqU
Jeanswest bf jeans [maternity] (size AU8) // sold out
Jeanswest skinny jeans [maternity] (size AU8) – https://shopstyle.it/l/baDXx
ASOS black maternity pencil skirt (size UK8) – http://bit.ly/2D5ptSw
Staple the Label black midi skirt (size S/AU10) // old – http://bit.ly/2QsyahM

Babaton black blazer (size XS) – https://www.aritzia.com/intl/en/product/agency-blazer/73982.html?dwvar_73982_color=1274
Everlane re-wool coat in ‘charcoal’ (size US2) – http://bit.ly/2KDsm11

Everlane black editor boots (size US9.5) – http://bit.ly/2s1s79O
Isabel Marant black suede heels (size FR41) // old – http://bit.ly/2XyAKnN OR http://bit.ly/2O5Udcm
Sam Edelman loafers (US9) – http://bit.ly/34NfBtc OR http://bit.ly/2ocFa6H
Vaneli two tone pumps (US9) – http://bit.ly/2KuIG4l
Stuart Weitzman OTK boots (US9) – http://bit.ly/2D5ibyq
Veja esplar sneakers (size EU40) – http://bit.ly/2odqHaG OR http://bit.ly/2zUQsPq

Parisa Wang enchanted bag – http://bit.ly/2Wo8BiV
Everlane day tote mini – http://bit.ly/32zHhAM
Polene black numero uno bag – https://eng.polene-paris.com/collections/numero-un
JW Anderson logo bag – http://bit.ly/2MZe0Kq OR http://bit.ly/2Q2o4W7
Everlane black wool/cashmere scarf – http://bit.ly/2XveUBQ
Isabel Marant belt (size S) – http://bit.ly/2nhIfSm

WEARINGEverlane alpaca sweater – http://bit.ly/312eYt1
Realisation Par leopard skirt – https://realisationpar.com/the-naomi-wild-things/
RP leopard skirt affordable dupe – http://bit.ly/2VeQkqU
Ania Haie earrings – https://aniahaie.com.au/collections/hoop-earrings/products/chain-hoop-earrings
Ania Haie bracelet – https://aniahaie.com.au/collections/bracelets/products/chain-hook-bracelet

Thank you so much for taking the time to watch this video. I hope you enjoyed it! Please note that some of the links used are affiliate links, which means if you choose to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support! 🙂

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