Fisheye gallery in Paris presents photographers Sanne de Wilde and Bénédicte Kurzen’s “Land of Ibeji”, an inquiry into the symbolism of twinhood in West Africa.
There are four times more twins in West Africa than in the rest of the world. Yorubaland, an area that extends through Nigeria, Benin, and Togo, inhabited by the Yoruba people, is at the heart of this twin-dense region. In the Yoruba language, the term “Ibeji” means “double birth” or “the two inseparable”, and twins became a powerful metaphor for the duality within a human being and the duality that we can experience in the outside world.
Powerful forces can inspire reverence as much as fear, and in different communities twins became the target of veneration and persecution. The collaboration between the two photographers gives life to images where symbolically charged layers of color separate twin children and adults from the background. Brush strokes erase other people’s faces, bringing twins, even when they find themselves in the middle of lively crowds, under an ever-glowing spotlight.