Du Twist a Cocody : ou, l’Art de la natte
by Diby Yao Christophe
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Paris: Éditions Dalfoz, 1972. First and only edition. Oblong 8vo (18x24cm), brown boards in dust jacket. 68pp. Text bilingual in French/ English. Unclipped dust jacket with mild soiling and creasing to edges. Moderate rubbing to front cover and corners. Contents clean and remarkably untoned. Fine in a very good dust jacket.
Unfortunately, not much is known about the photographer Diby Yao Christophe, but his photo book, Du twist à cocody, ou l’art de la natte, is an amazing document of hairstyles from the Ivory Coast of the 1970s.
This very scarce book was made between April 1970 and June 1972, in collaboration with the Institut d’Ethno-Sociologie in Abidjan, which was at the time of publication the capital of the Ivory Coast. Interestingly, the book was published in French and English, by the French publisher Éditions Dalfoz, in 1972, translated by Timothy and Kathryn Weiskel.
Christophe ends his book with this very powerful statement:
“Why do some of our stylish women prefere [sic] bleached hair or wigs to genuine African creations? One’s real hair, in my opinion, is worth more than faked hair, and an art evolved over time is always better than imported styles of others. I meet many of you who pretend to be European, trying to dress and act like white women.
Oh, my Black Sisters, why are you trying to forget that you are African? Great poets have sung the glory of your bodies and I, a humble photographer, have caught a few of your marvelous braids and tresses.
The times change, but your natural beauty endures.”