Self-taught documentary photographer has launched a career in cartooning, with this successful residency.
It was a cute exhibition at the chic 16/16 in Victoria Island…
Yagazie Emezi is an artist, poet and self-taught documentary photographer born and raised in Aba, Nigeria in 1989 to a Nigerian father and Malaysian mother. She didn’t start her photography journey till 2015 but she has quickly carved out quite an accomplished career for herself, and her work has been featured in British Journal of Photography, Huffington Post, Nieman Reports, Mashable, Vogue, Feature Shoot, and The Washington Post.
In December, she announced that she was the new artist-in-residence at 16/16, where she would be spending the next month developing her cartoons from @yagalifefacts.
Yaga Life Facts is an independent Instagram account that has doodles of a figure similar to herself which focus on body positivity, sexuality, and various life lessons drawn from Yagazie’s own life experiences.
She started doodling these toons as an au pair abroad, where she had to take care of four young kids and soon fell into a deep depression. She started the cartoons to feel happy about herself and let out her exasperations.
The Instagram account is mostly full of fun, happy-go-lucky illustrations of Yagazie’s everyday life, with a little dark here and there.
The exhibition, which marked the end of Yagazie’s residency at 16/16, held at the artsy space in 16, Kofo Abayomi street in Victoria Island. It was a semi-packed room, with enthusiasts who were more keen on catching up and taking pictures than looking at the exhibition.
The pieces were familiar but not as personal as the funny drawings that went up on Instagram. — these were darker, blander somehow.
There also weren’t a lot of pieces or many to hold your attention, but they were nice to look at, once over.
Yagazie made the exhibition exciting, though, by hiding her stickers of her illustrations all over the art room, and even in the toilet, sending the visitors into a vicious, slightly embarrassing treasure hunt.
There was also an installation room where she claimed she had spent most of her time during her residency whenever she wanted to get away from people.
When addressing those who came, she said she loved the experience, though it was different from what she’s used to. Some of the pieces were older and familiar, but it was the process of melting them unto glass that was spectacular.
She announced the end of her residency by saying: “Aaaaand just like that, my art residency at @16by16 is up. A massive thank you to everyone who showed up for the @yagalifefacts presentation last night and it’s not like I’m particular or anything, but really grateful to all my friends that came and made it feel like a big deal when tbh, I was feeling just ‘meh’.
I can’t thank @16by16 enough for the space and the mental stimulation/switch to step more out of my comfort zone and yet, into myself. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect place to be in and people to be surrounded by – from Tushar, a treasure with his talent for truly seeing people as they are, to the entire Thai Thai family and their immense hospitality. So glad to have done this right here at home and looking forward to all the other artists and their work to be made.”
We wonder what exciting cartoons she’ll have for us in the future.