Wasi Daniju TheBlkGze My Peoples

Wasi Daniju

Wasi Daniju responds to the My Peoples brief.

Share an image and commentary in response to these Jazzy Jeff lyrics:

My people who were made to endure
My peoples all shapes and colours
My peoples got more peoples with them
That’s more peoples, more sisters and brothers

My people stay strong as an ox
My peoples will never fail
My peoples will always remain
Remain with a story to tell

Wasi responds

This picture of my cousins, titled Ikorodu in Lekki, was taken in September 2019, at Lekki Conservation Centre in Nigeria, where my cousins had taken me for a day out. It was during a trip to Nigeria which I made a few months after my mother died, and was my first time in the country in almost 8 years.

I made the image as part of my reconnection, with the country and with my family. It felt particularly notable as this was a time out with cousins who were children when I knew them last, and now were the ones taking me out and showing me round. Despite the grief of the time, it was also a time of joy as my relationships with relatives evolved. I chose to share this particular image because it reflects so many things – the beauty of family, of Nigeria, and of home, and the love I have for these people who are so deeply a part of me even if time and distance is often so great between us. I love also the stances and the expressions and gazes of each of my cousins in this picture – how deeply and comfortably themselves they all are.

This photograph for me feels like an almost direct response to these particular lines of My People:

My peoples all shapes and colours
My peoples got more peoples with them
That’s more peoples, more sisters and brothers

Before any others, my family are my people and with them I always feel the comforting weight of being part of a vast sea of love, comfort and support. My peoples are also my family, so that beautiful mass of comfort and love stretches even wider than just blood relatives, and offers a lie to the idea of me ever being a minority.

Born in the UK to Nigerian parents, it was inevitable that my sense of home has never been set in one place. This image is from an ongoing series, Home Is Here and There, which I began after my mother died. This initial set of images is the beginning of a project in which I hope to explore my connections with Nigeria without my parents as conduits, given they have both now passed, and in which I consider the parallels and divergences between ‘home’ and ‘back home’.

About Wasi Daniju

Wasi Daniju is a talented people photographer whose work spans portraiture, live performance, theatre and photojournalism. Wasi is currently working towards a MA in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism to complement her 10 years industry experience.

Playwright and writer Hassan Mahamdallie describes Wasi’s work as having a beautiful aesthetic:

Energy and stillness come together. She has a sharp eye and the technical excellence to capture the moment. You can trust Wasi’s work to be authentic – to be capturing something real and of significance.

View more of Wasi’s work on her website. You can also connect with her on Instagram and Twitter.

Take part in the My Peoples Project

The project is open to Black photographers of all ages, genders and genres.