The FIFA 2018 World Cup is well on its way and the celebrations are creeping in as the hype of it all settles in, a unique celebration that brings people and nations together for a moment.
However, on this side of the world we already have a sense of that feeling within the UK border alone, with Great Britain being a huge melting pot of traditions and cultures from all over the globe creating one of the most diverse populations.
Having learnt that, British born descendants of ethnic minority immigrants represent over a third (almost half) of the country’s ethnic population, but somehow these cultural stories are rarely represented in the media in an authentic way. Every day, young ethnic minority women in the UK navigate their dual cultural identity - trying to balance their cultural heritage with being a person raised in the UK today.
So what I decided to do, is use this unifying and joyous moment that the world honours to celebrate these women and their individuality - discovering how they express their dual identities through style, beauty and words in a way that is authentic to them and recognisable by others like them - people from Africa are not monolithic. For me, it was important that I focus on my passion for culture and the African continent by selecting the five nations that made it through the FIFA tournament (Nigeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal & Egypt). This is a moment I wanted to intentionally exploit, whilst challenging other narratives like ones of Africa being divided in particularly amongst North and South of Africa, but in addition celebrating diasporas getting acquainted and connected back to their roots was key, sparking perhaps interest and a journey of discovery. There are many layers and nuances to this project but together they serve a powerful cultural message. Additionally, dual nationality is a major topic within FIFA itself amongst its players especially within teams like France, England and many more .
My choice of using women here was intentional and this is because when you think of sport and FIFA, you’re unlikely to think of a ‘female’. But with the most powerful women in sport (FIFA) being Fatma Samoura and hailing from Senegal, this is changing. The individuals featured in this project are ‘everyday’ women who cut cross various disciplines and working habits that everyone can relate to.
In the end, I curated a photo series that I eventually turned into the famous Panini stickers, which celebrates these women showing how cultural heritage is intertwined with being British and how they both live as one identity.