Two things that you’ll notice when browsing through the artwork of contemporary photographer Malick Welli, is his ability to capture the pure innocence of children and his apparent love for his home country of Senegal.
His most recent work “happynappy” features a series of photographs that celebrates natural African tresses.
In this day and age where it’s important to instill self love and confidence in girls from a young age, the portraits do well in relaying this message. The images feature proud young girls clad in colorful African prints, rocking their hair in its natural state. They stand before a colorful tartan background in an approach that is reminiscent to late Malian portrait photographers Malick Sidibe and Seydou Keita, who were renowned for the uses of colorful printed backdrops.
Nappy is the contraction of the word natural and happy, which literally means ‘’ happy natural ‘’.
The return to the frizzy hair whos heyday was in the 70s in the US during the civil rights struggle. At the time, the pioneers were Angela Devis and Catlyne Cliver. Since the afro has become an symbol of affirmation beyond aesthetics. -Malick Welli.
According to Afrikart.com, Wellis’ love for photography was sparked from not seeing a lot of family photos around his home growing up. It was 2012 that he purchased his first camera and started working as a photographer’s assistant with his friend and mentor Djibril Dramé. This gig allowed him to acuminate the skills and knowledge to branch out on his own. He credits ‘Senegalese visual anthropologist and photographer Boubacar Touré Mandemory as a direct influence on how he has evolved as a fine art photographer.’