Onye Anuna is a Creative Director of a London based Afro-Contemporary menswear label called Gravalot. Onye however has found a love for photographing and documenting experiences in his life journey . In this project Onye visits Nigeria for the first time in 18 years where he created this project as a personal account of his journey .
“This project is a personal account of the journey I took, views I encountered and ideas that developed on my first visit to Nigeria after 18 years. Part 1 is a series of photos examining the free nature of people I saw at Elegushi Beach.”
We are bathed in an air so thick with heat that our melted shadows are stretched across the sand in the hardest of afternoon suns. Beads of sweat pour hopelessly attempting a regulation of my soaring body temperature. The waves of the Atlantic crash onto the beach with the roar of a thousand men as the people of Lagos litter the air with a cacophony of Pidgin in the same loudness and vigour that they live by. A contest of sorts. Lagosians don’t like being outdone, not even by Mother Nature.
Men challenge the waves, throwing their bodies into a surge of blue and white, tangling and burying themselves in its underbelly only to emerge as the waters recede. A contest of sorts. Lagosians don’t like being outdone, not even by Mother Nature. A mother watches with excitement as her children laugh dizzyingly in high pitched voices, teasing the shallows to engulf their tiny torsos. The water is not their dominion and she is wary of its costs. Her shrill voice carries in the ocean breeze with the words “Oya be careful o! Don’t let it catch you!”. Their father, a solidly built man, no doubt having consumed much eba in his lifetime utters few words though his laughter carries with a slight depth and raspiness. In this very moment his family is free, their joy a view to be held.
In observing my people you see expression, you see art. Art not constrained by buildings or distilled and segregated into designated spaces, but an art that is truly expressive of the people’s characters. More meaningfully you see art borne not of individuals, but of friends, families and communities, where no one person claims ownership but where a collective rhythm is forged. They are the artists, and on that day the beach was their stage.