“The most challenging aspect of being an African artist in the diaspora would be the disconnect we have with the continent, the people and the culture,” says Yannis Davy Guibinga.
The 22-year old Gabonese photographer left his home country, on the west coast of Central Africa, in 2013 to study in Canada. But with his latest series "How bright is the future?", Guibinga wants to reconnect with his heritage by photographing the country’s youth.
“I am a young person also so I feel like there is a lot of the things they go through that I can relate to,” he explains. “I have been blessed and privileged enough to have access to private education but I am also very aware that the majority of the people in my country do not have the same access and privilege.”
The series was born during a trip back to his home when he was struck by the beauty and the strife at the pier of seaside town, Ambowe.
“The pier of Ambowe is the place where all fishermen gather to sell, what is considered by many to be, one of the best fish in the city. Despite the place’s reputation, many people there live in unacceptable conditions. This moment made me more aware of the conditions in which these people and many others in similar conditions live because of the lack of proper infrastructure, which is supposed to be created and managed by the government,” he says.
This made him question the future of Gabon and the children at the centre of that future. He adds that the series attempts to “highlight the paradox of Gabon’s most promising yet most vulnerable generation.”
Guibinga, who explores the complexities and diversities of African identities in his work, hopes that his latest series will start a conversation around the resilience of Gabon’s youth.
“Art alone does not have the ability to change their living conditions,” he says. “Art reaches people at unexpected moments and in unexpected places. It makes people think and when people think, things change.”