Mai Dinki

Mai dinki in Hausa means tailor. Below are the results of an environmental portrait session with my tailor, Ango Mustapha, of Mustee's Clothing, located in Jos, Nigeria.

Mustee, as he is called by most people, is a computer science student at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in Bauchi State, Nigeria. He divides his time between school in Bauchi and his clothing business in Jos. The cities are about two hours apart.

In Nigeria, tailors are very notorious for being deceitful and generally untrustworthy. There's even a saying in the Igbo language which, when loosely translated, says, "when a man learns to sew, his wife learns to say (lie) that he is not at home." 

Then there's Mustee. I was introduced to him through a mutual friend after I saw a few outfits he had made. I did my trial run and was amazed by not just how exquisitely finished and packaged his work was but by the fact that he delivered precisely on time and I had no need for any adjustments. This has been a recurring story for me with any outfits he has personally made. 

The original idea for this shoot was conceived by my friend and mentor, Musa Tukurah. He handed it off to me to execute while he slipped into an assistant's role.

When we set out to make these images, I wanted to capture the essence of Mustee as a tailor-- as a man absolutely consumed by his work. So what better place is there to do such a shoot but right in his creative space? 

You can check out some of Mustapha's work here.

Please click on any of the pictures to enlarge and scroll through the gallery.