Tossin Bolade

This  is a three part photography and fashion artwork in honour of twins and created as a tribute to the twin birth. 

The photo series explores the uniqueness of twin birth while interpreting the Yoruba Oriki (eulogy) for twins into a photography artwork, interpreting the Yoruba Eulogy. The fashion styling was created by taking inspiration from the Yoruba culture, queer fashion aesthetics in Nigeria, and ancient Greek mythology and fashion. We could see colours, regalia and plants depicting purity, wealth, power, influence, and growth from the period of their mother’s gestation up to their adulthood,while also interpreting the Yoruba Oriki and its figurative depiction of the unique twin birth. 

Oriki Ibeji 

Ẹ̀jìrẹ́ ará ìṣokún. 
Ọmọ ẹdun tíí ṣeré orí igi
Ó fẹsẹ̀ méjèèjì bẹ sílé alákìísa;
Ó salákìísà donígba aṣọ. 
Gbajúmọ̀ ọmọ tíí gbàkúnlẹ̀ ìyá, 
Tíí gbàdọ̀bálẹ̀ lọ́wọ́ baba tó bí í lọ́mọ. 
Wínrinwínrin lójú orogún 
Ejìwọ̀rọ̀ lojú ìyá ẹ̀.
Tani o bi ibeji ko n’owo? 

Eulogy for Twins  

All twins hail from Isokun. 
A relative of monkeys, you are 
hopping and jumping from a tree branch to the other.
Jumping helter-skelter, you land in a wretched man’s place, 
turning around his misfortunes. 
A rare set of children that command undue honour and respect from their parents. 
To your stepmother, you are an unwelcome sight. 
But to your mother, you are both emperors of two empires! 
Wouldn’t you love to be parents to twins?

Tossin Bolade is a creative director, fashion designer/stylist and an African historian living in Lagos, Nigeria. He tries to create fashion photography from an artistic and fashion perspective that interprets his experience as a queer person, African and Yorùbá while further trying to create art that imitates history and tells stories. His works have been published in Selin Magazine and Platform Magazine.

Sign up for our newsletter

Sign up to get our latest stories, poems and essays!