All about photo: photo contests, photography exhibitions, galleries, schools, books and venues.

Tariq Zaidi: Sapeurs

Posted on September 30, 2020 - By Kehrer Verlag
Share
Tariq Zaidi: Sapeurs
Tariq Zaidi: Sapeurs

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congo

Self-Expression Through Fashion, Style and Art in the Streets of Kinshasa and Brazzaville/Congo

British photographer Tariq Zaidi presents a fashion subculture of Kinshasa & Brazzaville: La Sape, Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elégantes (Society of Ambiance-Makers & Elegant People). Its followers are known as Sapeurs (Sapeuses for women). Most have ordinary day jobs as taxi-drivers, tailors and gardeners, but as soon as they clock out they transform themselves into debonair dandies. Sashaying through the streets they are treated like rock stars - turning heads, bringing 'joie de vivre' to their communities and defying their circumstances.


Tariq Zaidi

© Tariq Zaidi

Elie Fontaine Nsassoni, 45-year-old taxi owner and sapeur for 35 years, in Brazzaville, 2017

From the text by Tariq Zaidi:
Brazzaville and Kinshasa are on opposite banks of the Congo River, almost directly across from one another, yet they have different styles. In Brazzaville, La Sape is mainly 'French style' (think exquisite suits), but in Kinshasa anything goes, from Japanese Yamamoto coats to Scottish kilts. True Sapologie is about more than expensive labels: the true art lies in a sapeur's ability to put together an elegant look unique to their personality. Though the subculture is traditionally passed down through the male line, many Congolese women have recently begun donning designer suits and becoming sapeuses. By challenging Congolese patriarchal society in this way, they are returning to La Sape's origins by reversing the power dynamic. La Sape is a movement that is constantly evolving, as disenfranchised youths use fashion as a way of navigating their nations' journeys from developing countries into a more hopeful cosmopolitan future.


Tariq Zaidi

© Tariq Zaidi

Ntsimba Marie Jeanne, 52-year-old businesswoman and sapeuse for 20 years, Okili Nkoressa, 10-year-old school student and sapeur for 5 years, and Judith Nkoressa, 39-year-old policewoman and sapeuse for 18 years, in Brazzaville, 2017

About Tariq Zaidi
Tariq Zaidi is a freelance photographer based out of London, UK. In 2014, he gave up an executive management position to pursue his passion of capturing the dignity, strength and soul of people, within their environment. He is a self-taught photographer with an MSc from University College London. His photography focuses on documenting social issues, inequality, traditions and endangered communities around the world.

Zaidi has worked in 19 countries across four continents, mainly in the developing world. His work has been shown in over 75 international exhibitions and featured in more than 700 publications, including The Guardian, BBC, CNN, National Geographic, The Washington Post, Der Spiegel, GEO, El Pais, Foreign Policy, The LA Times, Smithsonian Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Marie Claire, Esquire and Vogue among other international titles. Zaidi's work has been recognised through a number of prestigious awards, including Pictures of the Year International (POYi), the National Press Photographers Association's (NPPA) Best of Photojournalism awards, UNICEF Photo of the Year, the Marty Forscher Fellowship Fund for Humanistic Photography (Parsons School of Design), the International Photography Awards and the PDN Photo Annual. He is represented by Zuma Press (USA), Caters News Agency (UK) and Getty Images (UK).

Tariq Zaidi's Website
Tariq Zaidi on Instagram
Tariq Zaidi on Facebook
All about Tariq Zaidi
Tariq Zaidi's Exclusive Interview

Tariq Zaidi

© Tariq Zaidi

Natan Mahata, 8-year-old school student and sapeur for 3 years, in Kinshasa, 2019


Tariq Zaidi

© Tariq Zaidi

Maxime Pivot Mabanza, 43-year-old teacher of La Sape and sapeur for 36 years, in Brazzaville, 2017


Tariq Zaidi

© Tariq Zaidi

Yamea Bansimba Jean Claude, 58-year-old bricklayer and sapeur for 50 years, in Brazzaville, 2017


Tariq Zaidi

© Tariq Zaidi

Clementine Biniakoulou, 52-year-old housewife and sapeuse for 36 years, in Brazzaville, 2017


Tariq Zaidi

© Tariq Zaidi

Ella Kiadi, 44-year-old businesswoman and sapeuse for 8 years, in Brazzaville, 2019


Tariq Zaidi

© Tariq Zaidi

Basile Gandzion, 51-year-old human resources manager and sapeur for 30 years, in Brazzaville, 2017


Tariq Zaidi

© Tariq Zaidi

Israell Mbona, 5-year-old school student and sapeur for 3 years, in Kinshasa, 2019


Tariq Zaidi

© Tariq Zaidi

Nkodia Aurelie, 48-year-old businesswoman and sapeuse for 36 years, in Brazzaville, 2019


Tariq Zaidi

© Tariq Zaidi

Francis Okiemi, 14-year-old school student and sapeur for 3 years, Steven Okiemi, 9-year-old school student and sapeur for 1 year, in Brazzaville, 2019


Tariq Zaidi

© Tariq Zaidi

Six Lokoto, 28-year-old model and sapeur for 20 years, in Kinshasa, 2019

Stay up-to-date  with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events.
Advertisement
AAP Solo Exhibition
Instagram
AAP Magazine Colors
Call for Entries
Solo Exhibition
Win an Online Juried Solo Exhibition in December

Selected Books

Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #14 Colors
Publish your work in AAP Magazine and win $1,000 Cash Prizes