From the book of Genesis to traditional African religions, human stories about the beginning of the universe are often remarkably similar, says Yannis Davy Guibinga, whose new series of photographs, “Tales of the First Sunrise,” imagines what that long ago dawn might have looked like to those who witnessed it. “There’s always an Adam type, and an Eve, two or three people who do something that triggers the rest of creation,” says Guibinga, who grew up in the central African nation of Gabon and is fascinated by indigenous spiritual practices. Now based in Montreal, the 26-year-old has been unable to return to Gabon because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but his art—with its vivid colors and aesthetic inspired by African woodcarving—helps him stay in touch with his homeland. “With photography, I can explore African cultures and artifacts through a contemporary lens. And it’s a way to go back home, by bringing it into my images.”

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