Adama Delphine Fawundu & Laylah Amatullah Barrayn

Laylah Amatullah Barrayn is a critically acclaimed photographer based in New York. With a career spanning more than twenty years, she is known for her striking documentary and portrait photography, works which have been featured in numerous prominent publications including The New York Times, National Geographic andVogue.

Richly varied, her work examines collective experiences, contemporaneously and throughout history, with a focus on identity among Black women in the United States. Recently, she has spent time documenting rallies and memorials in the wake of George Floyd’s death, exemplifying her use of the camera as a tool for activism, justice and change.

Also one of the most revered women photographers of the 21st century, Adama Delphine Fawundu is recognised for her empathetic, perspicacious exploration of Black experience via a multidisciplinary approach which encompasses photography, printmaking, video, sound, and assemblage.

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In her recent public art installation, Deconstructing SHE, Adama uses ‘silent monologues’ to explore the ‘impact of post Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and postcolonial societies on the development of social constructs such as ‘race’, ‘gender’, and ‘class’’ (deconstructingshe.com).

She has a particular interest in hip hop; having started her career documenting hip hop culture for The Source and Vibe Magazine, Adama is currently working on a multimedia project surveying African youth music and urban culture.

Both accomplished women photographers in their own right, Adama and Laylah also work closely as co-editors of MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora, a publication via which African women photographers and women photographers of colour can disseminate their work.

MFON is named in honour of the late Mmekutmfon “Mfon” Essien – a friend and contemporary of Adama and Laylah whom is described as a ‘sharp-witted, visionary photographer who exhibited at the Senegalese Biennale, and received an honorable mention in the American Photo magazine annual survey of the nation’s best photographers.’

The publication aims to improve agency, generate creative opportunities, and widen distribution, looking beyond America to showcase the work of women photographers of colour internationally.

Pausing their individual creative projects to collaborate on MFON, Adama and Laylah were assisted via funding from the Brooklyn Arts Council, as well as a successful crowdfunding campaign.

While the inaugural issue of MFON features over one hundred women photographers from across the Diaspora, subsequent issues will feature photographic essays of four or five photographers, alongside interviews and essays to contextualize the works.

MFON also has a legacy grant available to emerging women of colour photographers of African descent, which was most recently awarded to the photographer Eve Tagny.

By Katherine Riley

Connect with Adama | delphinefawundu.com | Instagram |

Connect with Laylah | laylahbarrayn.com | Instagram |

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