At first, it’s unclear where these people might be. Somewhere tropical, maybe. Somewhere humid. Certainly somewhere fragrant — gardenias, pink lotion, shea butter — and carefree. There, beneath the cosmos, a face’s scattered freckles rhyme neatly with the stars. The tallest woman you’ve ever seen looms high above a city. Huddled closely, a man and a woman pose against a sheet of mottled sky, skin twinkling like all the world’s sunshine is trapped behind their faces. As the photographs accumulate, a setting crystal lizes: it’s a sun-drenched arcadia of leisure and Black beauty, a fictional place thirty-oneyear-old photographer William Ukoh calls “the Willyverse.” Obviously, the Willyverse doesn’t appear on any map, but when asked how he might describe it, Ukoh says only that it’s an imagined “midway point between Nigeria and Canada” — his place of birth and adopted homeland, respectively. Otherwise, he would prefer that the viewer made up their own interpretation.
Ukoh, who lives in Toronto, has been building this world since 2016. He has photographed artists and actors for GQ and beauty stories for Vogue Portugal. He has collaborated with fashion designers and exhibited in galleries across New York, Lagos, Toronto, and Amsterdam. All the while, he has refused to make a distinction between his fine art and his commercial work, preferring instead to see it all as the moving parts of one self-contained universe, a place that expands with each new image. “There’s definitely a surreal element to the world,” he says.
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Can Denser Be Better?
The idea that dense urban communities are bad for well-being is a myth. As it turns out, having more neighbours may actually help you live better
While Canada ignores the Arctic’s economic potential, China is poised to invest
How to Save the Middle Class
Today’s vision of the good life is rooted in twentieth-century ideals. It’s time to reinvent it
Return of the Anti-Vaxers
To those who think vaccines are harmful, covid-19 is just another conspiracy
Why my mother’s cassava pie is more than a comfort food
Why Do We See Dead People?
Humans have always sensed the ghosts of loved ones. It’s only in the last century that we convinced ourselves this was a problem
The Myth of Universal Health Care
Two physicians on what it would take for Canada’s health care system to deliver on its promises
The report by the Royal Commission on the Status of Women was a major milestone for gender equality in Canada, but it failed to address the LGBTQ community. SARAH RATCHFORD explains that while we’ve come a long way in recognizing gender nonconforming folks, there’s more work to be done
The Case for Affordable Child Care
The pandemic has underscored the need for a national child care program
Welcome to the Willyverse
William Ukoh photographs a world of leisure and freedom
At Stone Barns Center, guest-chef residencies are bringing fresh flavors to fine dining.
Home is Where the Heart Is
Arinze Stanley is Staying in Nigeria
HENRY NWOKO NATURAL BODYBUILDER
ACTOR/CERTIFIED TRAINER THE LOVE FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING LED HIM TO BECOME A WELL-RESPECTED CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER AND NATURAL BODYBUILDER
Startups With an Unusual Fight
Often targeted by police, Nigeria’s tech industry works on ways to help protesters
The Specter of Hunger in Nigeria
Farmers are fleeing their lands just when the African nation needs them most
ABC to XYZ
A Day In The Life Of Global Trade
Viewed from a desk on wall street, trade can look like an inaccessible agglomeration of breathless headlines about escalating economic wars and sterile data. Yet up close, the buying and selling of goods and services is an astonishing organism: Here, geopolitical decisions and the markets’ responses to them have daily physical consequences. ¶ To capture an ordinary day during this extraordinary period in the history of the global economy, Bloomberg Markets deployed reporters across the world to see the inner workings of trade up close. From storefronts in Seoul and Tokyo to border crossings in Africa and the Middle East, Wednesday, Dec. 4, was ostensibly a day like any other. What the reporters saw were the nuts and bolts of a global economy that—whether because of the march of technology or the consequences of rising protectionism and shifting trade patterns—is confronting an inevitable and possibly irreversible wave of change.
Lagos Is Facing Its Bottle Problem
With plastic beverage container use doubling in three years, pressure to recycle is building
The Floating City
If you put a fish on dry land, can it survive? That is the way we people here are like. We cannot live on land. Living on water is part of our culture.” -Noah Shemede, native of Makoko
Welcome To Nollywood
Lagos is home to Nollywood, one of the world’s largest film industries. More than 2,500 movies are made in Nollywood each year. The industry adds about $10 billion a year to the country’s economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, as many as one million Nigerians work in the movie industry.