Early this year, we featured The Illegal Project, a stunning photo essay from Nigerian photographer and art director, Daniel Obasi. Shot and styled by Obasi and featuring models donning garments from designers like Orange Culture and Tsemaye Binitie, the series of images serve as a visual commentary on Nigeria’s controversial Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. The legislation criminalises anyone participating in sexual acts, cohabiting relationships or marriage to an individual of the same sex.
Now, Obasi and his team have released an accompanying short film that is as striking as the original photo series.
Like the photographs, the short film was also commissioned by online platform Oxosi, and is imbued with the same exhilarating rawness that emanates from the images. Directed by Obasi and edited by Robert Matuluko, the five-and-a-half–minute short film is a visual exploration of sexuality, gender fluidity and non-conformity from a contemporary African perspective using fashion and fantasy.
The film opens with narrator Josiah Osagie – ‘Under the intoxicating light of the afternoon sun, dark bodies twirled to the melodies of their own stark beauty. Clothed in the threads of our brazen youth, we gazed at the world, our eyes blazing like sapphires in the deepest nights. We are sin, sorrow, grace and rage. We are the exquisite castoffs from heaven, falling blissfully from the clouds.’ – the film is a stunningly nuanced reflection of Nigeria’s diverse identities.
You can watch the full-length film above. To see Obasi’s images from The Illegal Project, check them out here.