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Fati Abubakar 12


by Doti Bergin



Fati Abubakar is a renowned photographer whose work captures the beauty, diversity, and everyday life of people in Nigeria. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, Fati has established herself as a prominent figure in the world of arts and culture. Her photographs not only showcase the vibrant colors and dynamic landscapes of Nigeria but also shed light on the rich traditions and stories of its people.


Through her lens, Fati captures moments of joy, resilience, and strength, offering a unique perspective on the lives of individuals and communities. Her work has garnered international recognition and has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world.


What sets Fati Abubakar apart is her ability to connect with her subjects on a deep level, allowing her to capture intimate and authentic moments. She uses photography as a medium to bridge cultural divides and challenge common stereotypes, portraying Nigerians in a way that challenges preconceived notions and reveals the true essence of their identities.


In this article, we will delve into the background of Fati Abubakar, explore her journey as a photographer, and examine the impact of her work on society. From her education and early career to her influential projects and future aspirations, we will uncover the remarkable story of Fati Abubakar and understand the significance of her contributions to the arts and culture scene in Nigeria and beyond.


Background of Fati Abubakar

Fati Abubakar was born and raised in Borno State, Nigeria. Growing up in a culturally rich and diverse environment, she developed a strong appreciation for the arts from an early age. Inspired by the vibrant traditions and history of her community, Fati’s passion for storytelling through visual mediums began to blossom.


She pursued her education at the University of Maiduguri, where she obtained a degree in Business Administration. While her formal education provided a strong foundation, it was her curiosity and love for photography that truly propelled her artistic journey.


The unique blend of cultures in Borno State became Fati’s canvas as she started documenting the beauty and struggles of the people around her. Her deep connection to her community and an innate sense of empathy guided her photographic endeavors.


Despite the challenging circumstances and security issues in Borno State, Fati fearlessly ventured into various neighborhoods, capturing the essence of everyday life and the indomitable spirit of the people. Through her lens, she not only documented the struggles of those affected by societal issues but also celebrated their resilience and triumphs.


In addition to her photography, Fati Abubakar actively engages with her community, using her work as a platform for dialogue and advocacy. She understands the power of visual storytelling and its ability to influence positive change.


Today, Fati’s photography has gained national and international recognition, earning her accolades and opportunities to exhibit her work both in Nigeria and abroad. Her work serves as a poignant reminder of the rich cultural heritage and the shared humanity that binds us all together.


As Fati Abubakar continues to explore the nuances of Nigerian life through her photography, she remains committed to promoting understanding, empathy, and unity through her art. Her unwavering dedication to capturing the beauty and stories of her community has made her one of the most respected photographers in Nigeria and an influential voice in the arts and culture sector.


Fati Abubakar’s Education and Early Career

Fati Abubakar’s journey as a photographer began to take shape during her time at the University of Maiduguri, where she pursued a degree in Business Administration. While her chosen field of study may seem unrelated to photography, Fati’s passion for visuals and storytelling continued to grow.


During her university years, Fati immersed herself in various artistic activities. She participated in photography workshops, collaborated with local artists, and explored different techniques to enhance her skills. As she delved deeper into the world of photography, she realized that it was not only a creative outlet but also a powerful tool for communicating important stories and shedding light on societal issues.


After completing her degree, Fati began her professional career in the banking industry. While her job provided stability, she couldn’t ignore her desire to pursue her passion for photography full-time. In 2015, she made the brave decision to leave her corporate job and fully immerse herself in the world of photography.


This career shift allowed Fati Abubakar to dedicate her time and energy to honing her craft and exploring the captivating narratives hidden within her community. She embarked on numerous expeditions around Borno State and other parts of Nigeria, immersing herself in different cultures and documenting the diverse stories that unfolded.


As Fati’s photography gained traction, she began exhibiting her work in local art galleries and cultural centers. Her unique perspective and ability to capture the essence of her subjects resonated with viewers, garnering attention and praise from art enthusiasts and critics alike.


In addition to her exhibition ventures, Fati started sharing her work on social media platforms, particularly on Instagram. The online community quickly embraced her captivating photographs, earning her a dedicated following. This digital platform not only allowed her to reach a broader audience but also connected her with other photographers and artists from around the world, fostering collaboration and exchange of ideas.


Recognizing the potential of her growing online presence, Fati Abubakar leveraged her platform to advocate for positive change. She used her photography as a catalyst for discussions on social issues, raising awareness about the challenges faced by individuals and communities in Nigeria.


Today, Fati’s early passion and dedication have laid a strong foundation for her successful career as a photographer. Her commitment to capturing the true essence of Nigerian life has not only earned her recognition and acclaim but also positioned her as a prominent voice in the arts and culture scene.


Fati Abubakar’s Photography Journey

Fati Abubakar’s photography journey is a testament to her passion for storytelling, empathy for her subjects, and commitment to capturing the essence of Nigerian life. Through her lens, she has revealed the beauty, struggles, and triumphs of the people and communities she encounters.


Her photography style can be described as candid and intimate. Fati has a unique ability to connect with her subjects on a deep level, allowing her to capture authentic moments and evoke emotions through her photographs. Her keen eye for detail and composition brings each image to life, telling a story in a single frame.


One remarkable aspect of Fati’s journey is her focus on the local community. She believes that true understanding and appreciation of a place and its people can only come from within. This dedication to her community has given her unparalleled access and insight, allowing her to portray the daily lives, rituals, and cultural practices of Nigerians.


Fati’s photography journey has taken her to various corners of Nigeria, each with its own unique identity and charm. From bustling markets and vibrant festivals to serene landscapes and traditional ceremonies, she captures the rich tapestry of Nigerian culture and invites viewers to immerse themselves in the stories behind each photograph.


One of the most remarkable aspects of Fati Abubakar’s photography journey is her ability to challenge stereotypes and preconceived notions. She brings forth the untold narratives and amplifies the voices of underrepresented communities, shining a light on their resilience, beauty, and humanity.


Her work often explores themes such as gender, identity, and social justice, providing a platform for marginalized groups to share their stories and perspectives. By showcasing the strength and diversity of Nigerian society, Fati challenges the dominant narratives, fosters understanding, and encourages empathy.


Throughout her journey, Fati Abubakar has received widespread recognition for her photography. Her work has been featured in major international publications and showcased in exhibitions around the world. She has also been a recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the Magnum Foundation’s Emergency Fund grant and the Alexia Foundation grant.


But beyond the accolades, Fati’s photography journey is ultimately driven by her deep passion for her craft and her commitment to using photography as a medium of empowerment and social change. She believes that art has the power to shape narratives and create positive impact, and she continues to explore new ways to engage and connect with her audience.


As she evolves as an artist, Fati Abubakar’s photography journey is bound to take new directions and delve deeper into the stories and experiences of Nigerians. With her extraordinary talent and unwavering dedication, she continues to inspire and challenge the status quo, cementing her place as a leading figure in the world of photography.


Fati Abubakar’s Influences and Inspirations

Fati Abubakar’s photography is fueled by a multitude of influences and inspirations that have shaped her unique artistic perspective. Her work is a reflection of the people, places, and experiences that have influenced her journey as a photographer.


One of the major influences in Fati’s life and photography is her hometown, Borno State. The rich cultural heritage and diverse communities in Borno serve as a constant source of inspiration for her work. The vibrant colors, traditional ceremonies, and everyday life in the region have shaped her artistic vision.


Fati is also influenced by the works of renowned photographers who capture the essence of humanity and tell powerful visual stories. The work of photographers like Steve McCurry, Dorothea Lange, and Seydou Keïta has inspired her to explore different narrative techniques and push the boundaries of her artistic expression.


Equally important to Fati’s influences are the people she encounters in her daily life and during her photography expeditions. The strength, resilience, and warmth of the Nigerian people constantly inspire her to tell their stories through her photographs. She aims to portray the humanity and dignity of her subjects, giving a voice to those who are often marginalized or misunderstood.


Another influential factor in Fati’s work is the cultural diversity in Nigeria. With over 250 ethnic groups, each with its own traditions and practices, the country is a tapestry of stories waiting to be explored. Fati draws inspiration from the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Nigeria, capturing the unique customs, rituals, and celebrations that make each community distinct.


Through her photography, Fati Abubakar aims to challenge stereotypes and promote cultural understanding. She emphasizes the similarities that bond us as human beings, regardless of our cultural backgrounds.


Her experiences as a woman navigating the male-dominated photography industry also serve as a driving force in her work. Fati aims to break barriers and inspire other female photographers to pursue their passion without limitations. She believes that diversity in the art world leads to a more inclusive and comprehensive representation of society.


Fati’s photography is also deeply influenced by the social issues prevalent in Nigeria, such as displacement, poverty, and inequality. She uses her camera as a tool for advocacy, shedding light on the challenges faced by communities and individuals and inspiring conversations that can drive positive change.


Overall, Fati Abubakar’s influences and inspirations are as diverse and dynamic as the subjects she captures through her lens. From the cultural heritage of Nigeria to the work of renowned photographers and the stories of everyday people, Fati’s artistry is a result of a deep appreciation for the world around her and a strong desire to create meaningful connections through photography.


Achievements and Recognition of Fati Abubakar

Fati Abubakar’s exceptional talent and powerful storytelling have garnered her significant achievements and recognition throughout her career as a photographer. Her work has not only resonated with audiences around the world but has also received praise from esteemed institutions and organizations.


One notable achievement in Fati’s journey is her selection as a participant in the prestigious World Press Photo Foundation’s Joop Swart Masterclass in 2018. This recognition highlights Fati’s exceptional storytelling abilities and her commitment to capturing images that transcend borders and cultural barriers.


Furthermore, Fati’s compelling photographs have been featured in numerous exhibitions both in Nigeria and on the international stage. Her work has graced esteemed galleries and cultural institutions, reinforcing her status as a respected photographer. She has exhibited in renowned venues such as the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.


In addition to exhibitions, Fati Abubakar’s photographs have been published in renowned media outlets. Her work has been showcased in prominent magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, BBC, The Washington Post, and Al Jazeera. This international exposure has allowed Fati’s photographs to reach a wider audience and amplify the stories she aims to tell.


Recognizing her contributions to the field of photography, Fati has been the recipient of various grants and awards. In 2020, she received the prestigious Magnum Foundation’s Emergency Fund grant, which supports photographers working on urgent issues across the globe. This grant serves as a testimony to the significant impact of her photography in documenting pressing social issues.


Furthermore, Fati Abubakar was honored with the Alexia Foundation grant in 2019. This grant recognizes photographers who create visual stories with the potential to drive social change. Fati’s work exemplifies the power of storytelling to raise awareness, challenge stereotypes, and foster empathy.


Fati’s achievements and recognition extend beyond the realm of photography. She has been invited to speak at international conferences and forums, sharing her experiences and insights as a photographer. Her inspiring presentations and discussions contribute to a broader conversation around the power of visual storytelling and its capacity to create positive change.


Through her exceptional talent and dedication, Fati Abubakar has not only showcased the beauty and resilience of Nigerian communities but has also strengthened the position of African photographers on the global stage. Her achievements and recognition serve as a testament to her impact as an artist and an advocate for social justice.


Fati Abubakar’s Photography Projects and Exhibitions

Fati Abubakar has embarked on numerous photography projects that have captivated audiences, sparked conversations, and shed light on the diverse narratives of Nigerian communities. Through these projects, she has not only showcased her remarkable talent as a photographer but also created platforms for dialogue, empathy, and social change.


One of Fati’s notable projects is “Bits of Borno,” a series that documents the everyday life and resilience of people living in Borno State, Nigeria. This project explores the complexities of daily existence in the midst of conflict and displacement, challenging the common narratives surrounding this region. The powerful and intimate portraits in “Bits of Borno” bring forth the humanity and strength of the individuals and communities who continue to thrive despite adversity.


In addition to “Bits of Borno,” Fati has also focused her lens on the lives of women in Northern Nigeria through her project “Dream Bodies.” Collaborating with local women, she captures their personal stories of body image, beauty, and self-acceptance. The project challenges societal norms and celebrates the diversity and resilience of Nigerian women, emphasizing the importance of self-love and representation.


Fati Abubakar’s photography projects have been widely exhibited in galleries and cultural institutions both in Nigeria and internationally. Notably, her work has been showcased at the renowned Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, where she participated in the exhibition “New Southern Photography.” Her photographs were also featured at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., during the Women to Watch exhibition.


Furthermore, Fati’s exhibitions have extended beyond traditional gallery spaces. In collaboration with local organizations and communities, she has held immersive exhibitions in public spaces, bringing art closer to people who may not have easy access to galleries. These community-centric exhibitions serve as catalysts for conversations and promote inclusivity in the appreciation of art.


Fati Abubakar’s photography projects have not only showcased the beauty and resilience of Nigerian communities but have also triggered important discussions on social issues. Her exhibitions are often accompanied by panel discussions, workshops, and interactive sessions that delve deeper into the themes explored in her photography. These engagements provide opportunities for dialogue, education, and social awareness, creating spaces for empathy and understanding.


In addition to physical exhibitions, Fati’s work has gained significant traction online through her social media platforms, particularly on Instagram. With a large following, her photographs receive widespread attention and engagement. This digital presence allows her to reach a global audience and connect with other photographers, artists, and enthusiasts who share her passion for visual storytelling.


Through her photography projects and exhibitions, Fati Abubakar continues to push boundaries, challenge stereotypes, and celebrate the remarkable diversity of Nigerian culture. Her work not only transcends borders but also brings attention to the stories that need to be heard and celebrated.


Impact of Fati Abubakar’s Work on Society

Fati Abubakar’s work as a photographer has had a profound impact on society, both within Nigeria and on a global scale. Through her captivating imagery and powerful storytelling, she has sparked conversations, challenged stereotypes, and inspired empathy and understanding.


One of the significant impacts of Fati’s work is its contribution to changing prevailing narratives about Nigeria. Often portrayed in the media through a narrow lens, Nigeria is often associated with conflict, poverty, and instability. However, Fati’s photography offers a counter-narrative, highlighting the diverse and vibrant aspects of Nigerian culture, the beauty of its landscapes, and the resilience of its people. By showcasing the multifaceted nature of Nigeria, she expands people’s perspectives and fosters a more nuanced understanding of the country.


Fati’s photography has also had a transformative effect within the communities she portrays. By capturing the everyday lives and stories of individuals, she not only validates their experiences but also empowers them. Her photographs serve as a catalyst for dialogue, encouraging individuals to reflect on their own identities, challenges, and aspirations. By amplifying the voices of marginalized communities, Fati creates spaces for their stories to be heard, fostering a sense of belonging and pride.


The impact of Fati Abubakar’s work extends beyond documentation. She actively engages with her audience, both in person and online, to create spaces for education, empathy, and social change. Through exhibitions, workshops, and panel discussions, she encourages people to connect with the stories behind her photographs, challenging stereotypes and promoting dialogue on important social issues. By facilitating these conversations, Fati’s work contributes to broader societal awareness and a greater sense of collective responsibility.


Furthermore, Fati’s commitment to gender equality is evident in her photography. Her images celebrate the strength, resilience, and beauty of Nigerian women, challenging traditional gender roles and highlighting their significant contributions to society. This portrayal not only empowers women but also challenges societal norms and inspires conversations around gender equity.


Internationally, Fati’s work has been instrumental in reshaping narratives about Africa and challenging Western-centric perspectives. By sharing stories that humanize the African continent, she helps dismantle stereotypes and biases, fostering cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.


Perhaps one of the most significant impacts of Fati Abubakar’s work is the inspiration it provides to aspiring photographers in Nigeria and beyond. Through her success, she opens doors for others, showing that storytelling through photography can have a profound impact and create pathways for positive change. Her achievements serve as a beacon of possibility, encouraging emerging photographers to pursue their passion and use their art as a means of advocating for social justice and cultural preservation.


In summary, the impact of Fati Abubakar’s work on society can be felt through the reimagining of narratives, empowerment of marginalized communities, promotion of dialogue, and inspiration it provides to others. Her photography catalyzes positive change by challenging stereotypes, fostering empathy, and celebrating the beauty and resilience of Nigerian culture and its people.


Fati Abubakar’s Future Plans and Aspirations

Fati Abubakar’s journey as a photographer has been filled with incredible achievements and impactful projects. As she looks to the future, she continues to push boundaries, challenge norms, and explore new avenues of creative expression.


One of Fati’s future aspirations is to expand her photography projects to other regions of Nigeria. While she has primarily focused on her hometown of Borno State, she intends to explore the rich cultural tapestry of other Nigerian states and share their stories through her lens. She recognizes the importance of showcasing the diversity of Nigeria, giving a voice to communities that may be less represented or misunderstood.


In addition to expanding her geographical scope, Fati Abubakar is passionate about addressing important social issues through her photography. She aims to continue highlighting the challenges faced by vulnerable groups, including women, children, and refugees. By focusing on these issues, she hopes to contribute to a more just and inclusive society where everyone’s voice is heard and valued.


Fati’s desire to empower and nurture future generations of photographers is also a key aspect of her future plans. She envisions establishing photography workshops and mentorship programs, particularly for young women and aspiring photographers from marginalized backgrounds. By sharing her knowledge, skills, and experiences, Fati hopes to create a supportive ecosystem that enables emerging photographers to thrive and drive change through their art.


One of Fati’s long-term aspirations is to create a platform that showcases African photography and amplifies the voices of African photographers. She recognizes the importance of representation and aims to create opportunities for African photographers to exhibit their work, gain recognition, and contribute to the global dialogue on art, culture, and social issues. This platform would serve as a space for collaboration, exchange of ideas, and celebration of the richness and diversity of African visual storytelling.


Furthermore, Fati Abubakar is passionate about the preservation of cultural heritage. She plans to explore projects that document traditional practices, ceremonies, and rituals that risk being lost over time. By capturing and sharing these traditions, she seeks to promote cultural appreciation and create a sense of pride and continuity among communities.


Another important goal for Fati is to continue challenging preconceived notions and misconceptions about Nigeria and Africa more broadly. Through her photography, she aims to showcase the positive aspects of Nigerian society and explore stories that highlight resilience, joy, and unity. By doing so, she hopes to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of Nigeria and provide a counter-narrative to the frequent portrayal of Africa through a limited lens.


In summary, Fati Abubakar’s future plans and aspirations revolve around expanding her photography projects, addressing social issues, empowering emerging photographers, creating platforms for African voices, preserving cultural heritage, and challenging stereotypes. With her passion, talent, and dedication, she is poised to carve a path that continues to make a profound impact on the art world, society, and the lives of individuals and communities.



Fati Abubakar’s journey as a photographer is nothing short of remarkable. Through her talent, passion, and dedication, she has become a prominent figure in the world of arts and culture. From her humble beginnings in Borno State, Nigeria, she has captured the beauty, resilience, and diversity of Nigerian life, creating a body of work that challenges stereotypes and inspires change.


Through her photography, Fati Abubakar has demonstrated the power of storytelling. She has used her lens to document the everyday experiences of Nigerians, shedding light on their triumphs, struggles, and traditions. Her imagery evokes empathy and prompts viewers to reflect on their own preconceptions, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the richness of Nigerian culture.


Fati’s work has garnered international recognition, with her photographs exhibited in prestigious galleries and featured in renowned publications. Her achievements, grants, and participation in esteemed programs have solidified her position as a leading force in contemporary photography.


Perhaps the most significant impact of Fati’s work lies in the way it has transformed narratives and influenced societal perspectives. Through her honest and intimate portrayals, she challenges the dominant stereotypes and biases about Nigeria and Africa. Her photography inspires empathy, breaks down barriers, and fosters dialogue, promoting a more inclusive and nuanced understanding of our shared humanity.


Fati Abubakar’s future holds great promise as she continues to push the boundaries of her art. Her commitment to addressing social issues, empowering emerging photographers, and preserving cultural heritage reflects her dedication to using photography as a tool for positive change.


In conclusion, Fati Abubakar’s contributions to the arts and culture scene are immeasurable. Her photography not only captures the beauty of Nigeria but also serves as a catalyst for social awareness and transformation. Through her unique storytelling, she has created a legacy that inspires us to embrace diversity, challenge stereotypes, and celebrate the profound connections that bind us all as human beings.