Yagazie Emezi is a Nigerian artist and self-taught photojournalist focused on stories surrounding African women and their health, sexuality, education and human rights. Having worked extensively across Africa, Yagazie also covers stories on identity and culture, social justice, climate change and migration. 

Her art practice uses photography and sculpture to construct visual critiques of Nigeria's socio-political state and the roles media play in it, pulling from history and current events. 

She began her journey in 2015 and has since worked with Al-Jazeera, New York Times, Vogue, Newsweek, Inc. Magazine, TIME, The Guardian, Washington Post, National Geographic, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Weather Channel, New York Times Magazine and several not-for-profit organizations.  After ten months in Monrovia, Liberia (2017) documenting the impact of education for girls in at-risk communities, Yagazie returned to her ongoing project Re-learning Bodies which explores how trauma survivors, outside the narrative of violence and abuse, adapt to their new bodies while marking the absence of an effusive culture around body positivity as a noteworthy cultural phenomenon. Through 2018 - 2019, Yagazie documented patrols at sea through Liberia, Gabon and Namibia with the non-profit Sea Shepherd, recording government efforts to protect marine wildlife from Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) activities. 

Yagazie is a recipient of the 2018 inaugural Creative Bursary Award from Getty Images. A participant for the 2018 New York Portfolio Review, she has also been featured by British Journal of Photography, Huffington Post, i-D, Nieman Reports, Paper Magazine, Vogue, CNN and The Washington Post. In November of 2018, she received a grant from the U.S Consulate General in Lagos for her photo-series addressing the reality of sexual violence against women and the vulnerable young in Nigeria. In 2019, she became the first black African woman to photograph for National Geographic Magazine and is a National Geographic Explorer Grantee. Yagazie was among the 2019 inaugural artists selected for Kehinde Wiley's art residency at Black Rock, Senegal and is a  2019 nominee to the prestigious Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. She is a contributor to Everyday Africa and a member of its advisory board. In 2020, she became a Canon ambassador and is a 2021 mentor at the Women Photograph 2021 Mentorship Program. She has exhibited herworks around the world in various galleries and museums with the most exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, ‘New Photography’ 2023, curated by OluremiOnabanjo. 

Yagazie is based between Nigeria and USA and is available for assignments.


2023  Fleeing Generals at War and Violent Militias, Many Say ‘We’re Not Coming Back, New York Times

2023  She founded an Afghan girls school. Now she runs it in exile in Rwanda, National Geographic

2023  See scenes from classic fairy tales—with a Nigerian twist, National Geographic

2023  Sartorial Subversion: Upstarts and Start-ups in Sub-Saharan Africa, National Geographic

2023  Tour Artist Kehinde Wiley’s Quiet Creative Haven in Lagos, Nigeria, Architectural Digest

2022  Earth Now Has 8 Billion People—and Counting, National Geographic

2022  Meet The 7 Lagos-Based Talents Leading The Charge in Next-Wave Design,Architectural Digest

2022  Nets, Buoys, Salt, Ice. For West African Fishermen, ‘Everything’ Is Going Up,New York Times

2022  Abused and abandoned, three women share their stories of pregnancy withschizophrenia., CNN 

2021  A Community on Lagos Island is Being Swallowed By the Sea, CNN

2021 Wole Soyinka is Not Going Anywhere, New York Times

2021 The Fisherwomen, Chevron and The Leaking Pipe, New York Times 

2021 The Nigerian Activist Trying to Sell Plants to the Oil Company That Destroyed Them, New York Times

2021 Life Expectancy Disparities in Three Countries, New York Times

2021 In Nigeria, ‘Feminist’ Was a Common Insult. Then Came the Feminist Coalition, New York Times

2021 Crossing the Niger River, Inch by Painful Inch, Hour by Wasted Hour, New York Times

2021 A Continent Where the Dead Are Not Counted, New York Times

2020 No Generation Is As Strong As Today’s Youth”, Vogue

2020 In Nigeria, When Will Justice Catch Up With the Present?, Vogue

2020 Police Took Their Son Away. Then the Merchants of Hope Showed Up, New York Times

2020 Coronavirus in Nigeria: Living through a Pandemic, The Washington Post

2019 Nigeria Enlists Big Beverage Companies to Fight Plastic Waste, Bloomberg Businessweek

2019 How Women Are Stepping Up To Remake Rwanda, National Geographic

2019 The Migrants Who Return Home, New York Times

2019 Confessions of a Hit Squad, New York Times

2019 The New Daughters of Africa, New Internationalist

2018 Exodus: The Climate Migration Crises. Forced Out, The Weather Channel

2018 Taking the Pulse of Nigerian Style, The New York Times

2018 The Voyages Issue, The New York Times Magazine

2018 Next Generation Leaders, Time Magazine

2018 Health Special: Out of Africa, Newsweek

2018 A Sense of Place, Huck Magazine

2017 The Ease of Monrovia’s ‘Hipco’ Clubs, New York Times

2017 Why We Need More Visual Journalists and Editors of Color, Nieman Reports

2017 30 Photographers Re-Picturing A Continent, Everyday Africa

2016 Photographer’s Guide to Lagos, Format Magazine


2023  New Photography 2023, The Museum of Modern Art, NY, USA 

2023  Lean On Me, Kó Art Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria

2023  German Peace Prize For Photography, Museumsquartier Osnabrück, Germany 

2023 A Wa Nibi: Archiving the Queer Experience of the Past and Present for the Future, Òbòdò in collaboration with Kampabnagel, Lagos, Nigeria

2023  Reverie, DADA Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria

2022 The New Black Vanguard, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK

2022 Dakar Biennale, Dakar, Senegal

2021 Self-Addressed, Curated by Kehinde Wiley, Jeffrey Deitch Gallery, LA, USA

2021 The Rising Exhibition, Alara, Lagos, Nigeria

2021 Ideologies, Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany

2021 I am Not a Goddess ... Unless I Say I am, Amar Singh Gallery

2020 Just Pictures, Projects + Gallery, Saint Louis, USA

2019  African Biennale of Photography, Bamako, Mali

2019 The Female Lens, Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York

2019 Relearning Bodies, Hamwe Festival, Kigali, Rwanda (solo show)

2019 HERE, Alliance Francais, Lagos, Nigeria (solo show)

2018 Present and Forgotten, Vlisco&Co, Art Twenty One, Lagos, Nigeria

2018 Festival Pil’ours, Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, France

2017 Insider/Outsider, Women Photograph Photoville, NYC

2017 Body Talk, Refinery29 Photoville, NYC

2017 Re-picturing a Continent, Alliance Francais, Nairobi, Kenya

2016 LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph, Charlottesville, USA

2016 The Everyday Projects at FotoIstanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


2023 Perspective, National Geographic Storytelling Seminar                          

2023 Building Your Portfolio, Museum of the African Diaspora MoAD.

2022 A Gaze, Ever Young, In Conversation with James Barnor, In partnership with MOMA, ArtX  

2021 Expanding Your Vision, Everyday Projects

2021 Emancipative Bodies, Ray Festival, Germany

2020 Exploring Identity & Culture Through Art, CreativeLive

2020 Beyond Criticism To Action: Pushing The African Visual Identity Discourse Forward, Homecoming & Browns

2019 Environmental Changes & Risks To Women's Health, University of Global Health Equity, Rwanda

2019 Chronic Conditions: Knowing, Seeing & Healing the Body in Global Africa, University of Kansas

2018 Fast Forward: Women in Photography. Lagos Photo Festival. Lagos, Nigeria

2018 Guest Lecture, Parsons School of Design. New York, USA

2017 Rethinking Creation in the Digital Age, FCAEA & Everyday Africa, Nairobi, Kenya

2016 Narratives Through Photography, Social Media Week Lagos

2015 Limitations to Exploring Photography Off the Streets, Rele Gallery. Lagos, Nigeria

2015 Connecting to the Consumer, What We Know and How to Utilize it, Mobile West Africa. Lagos, Nigeria


2023 The Contemporary African Photography Prize (shortlist).
2023 German Peace Prize for Photography (shortlist), Museumsquartier Osnabrück2020 Creative Residency Community Fund, Adobe
2020 Exploration Grant, National Geographic
2019 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative (shortlist)
2018 U.S Consulate Grant, The United States Consulate General Lagos
2018 Emerging Photographer Grant, Getty Images
2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of New Mexico, African StudiesDepartment 


Using Format