About 50 miles north of Lagos lies Igbo-Ora, a sleepy rural city of about 92,000 residents. Igbo-Ora is peopled by members of the Yoruba tribe, which makes up round 21% of the Nigeria’s inhabitants.
Whereas the precise statistics are debated, anthropologists are united: Igbo-Ora has a singularly excessive variety of twins. Final 12 months, when the federal government sponsored a pageant celebrating them, greater than 2,000 twins attended. The city has, due to this fact, been dubbed “the world capital of twins.”
However the sheer variety of twins corresponds to a different cultural phenomenon: twins are revered in Yoruba tradition as items from God, twin entities protected by spirits and possessed of magical powers.
From the sequence “Ibeji” by Stephen Tayo Credit score: Courtesy Stephen Tayo
Tayo, who grew up in Ikere-Ekiti, Nigeria, and now lives in Lagos, just isn’t a twin himself, however he needed to inform “a narrative that identifies my tribe.”
“It was actually necessary for me to ascertain how twins are seen in our tradition,” Tayo stated in a cellphone interview. “Different tribes see twins as an abomination from the precolonial period onwards, however the Yoruba see them as a blessing.”
For Tayo, “Ibeji” signifies a extra conceptual and multivalent strategy to portraiture compared to the…