In her series Cocktail, Namsa Leuba infuses fashion and portraiture to comment on the representation of the African woman. The series, created for a WAD Magazine spread in 2012, depicts models posing with objects including porcelain leopards, bull horns, and feathered headdresses. Paired with vibrant backgrounds with bold, saturated colors, the images explore the cultural imaginary of “Africa” where props, pose, and mood speak to questions of exoticism and authenticity.
The images are not about cultural specificity or biographic detail, but rather about female archetypes that are at once fictional, fantastical, and commercially viable. Featuring clothes by noted fashion designers including Kenzo, Vivianne Westwood, Dr. Martens, K-Way, and Bernhard Willhelm, the series title alludes to the “fresh” ,“juicy” and “colorful” tone that the images evoke.