Denis Vejas

Stories Queen Mothers 2017
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The following series is an initial part of my broader ongoing documentary project 'Africa B&W', exploring relationships between Africans and westerners as the consequences of colonialism.

Two volunteers from foreign NGO are being intitled as Queen Mothers in a small Ghanaian village. It is a high status in the country's chieftaincy system, which wields social power and influence.
Countless meetings with town's and neighboring communities’ chiefs, dissolving personal issues in local families, and rural development projects became their new normal.

Ghana is a society with a complex regional chieftaincy system.
Mostly of aristocratic birth, chiefs and queens were on the top of the ruling pyramid for ages, playing roles of warlords, priests, healers, judges, and rulers.
The chieftaincy still plays a crucial part in Ghanaian societies even though during the process of colonization the roles have shifted and were overtaken by Brits and the catholic church.
The chiefs don’t have any legitimate rights anymore but are still carrying huge traditional values being highly respected in the community. Their authority is unquestioned.

Modern Ghana is one of the most religious countries in the world, and even though the chemistry of beliefs here varies from clan to clan, the image of the 'all-powerful white god' is heavily present everywhere in the country, hardening he cliche of racial superiority.

Ghana 2017

(Not) A Witch Portrait 2017
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