Joana Choumali

Joana Choumali (b. 1974) is a visual artist and photographer based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. While her work explores the diversity of African cultures, the embroidered element of her photographs offers a glimpse into a phantasmic, imaginative realm. 

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Born and raised in Abidjan, Joana attended local international schools before studying Graphic Arts in Casablanca, Morocco. She worked as an art director in an advertising agency before embarking upon her photography career. 

In 2019, Joana was awarded the Prix Pictet for her series Ça va aller. A collection of iPhone photographs hand embroidered with cotton, lurex and wool thread, the work explores ways in which Ivorian people deal with mental health. 

According to Joana, ‘In Côte d’Ivoire, people do not discuss their psychological issues, or feelings. A post-traumatic state is often considered as weakness or a mental disease. People hardly talk about their feelings, and each conversation is quickly shortened by a resigned “ça va aller” (“it will be OK”). 

For Joana, stitching onto the photographs felt meditative; created in the immediate aftermath of the Grand-Bassam terror attack in 2016, ‘each stitch was a way to recover, to lie down the emotions, the loneliness, and mixed feelings’. 

In Abidjan, Joana has exhibited at the Museum of Civilizations, the Donwahi Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Rotonde des Arts, and Palais de la Culture. She has also exhibited her work in Amsterdam, Paris, and Cape Town. Her book HAABRE was published and edited in Johannesburg in 2016. 

Most recently, Joana’s series AWOULABA/TAILLE FINE was featured in Fotografiska’s exhibition Nude (2021), which brings together work by thirty groundbreaking contemporary women artists.

Photography & Textiles

Our new core display references the local textile history, situating it within a framework of contemporary art and photography. Photography Heroines, whose oeuvres explore photography and fibre arts include......

Joana Choumali

Photographer Joana Choumali from Côte d’Ivoire, incorporates embroidery into her work to explore identity & diversity within different African cultures....

Aïda Muluneh

CNN Online

Photography has often been a male-dominated profession, with many female photographers not given due credit for their work. However, there are a number of female digital photographers whose work range from photojournalism to personal...

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