In partnership with Autograph ABP, Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière presents an exhibition of a large selection of prints by Future of Ghana Patron, James Barnor, both vintage and contemporary. An accompanying book will be published for this occasion, focusing primarily on Barnor’s street and studio portraiture from the 1950s to the early 1970s.
Born in 1929 in Accra, James Barnor is considered a pioneer of Ghanaian photography. Barnor’s career covers a remarkable period in history, bridging continents and photographic genres to create a transatlantic narrative marked by his passionate interest in people and cultures.
Through the medium of portraiture, Barnor’s photographs represent societies in transition: Ghana moving towards its independence and London becoming a cosmopolitan, multicultural metropolis.
Along with his contemporaries in other parts of Africa – Seydou Keïta in Mali, Van Leo in Egypt or Rashid Mahdi in Sudan – Barnor started his career by opening a photographic portrait studio frequented by a diverse clientele representing all aspects of society. In the early 1950s Ever Young studio in Jamestown, Accra was visited by civil servants and dignitaries, yoga students, pastors and teachers, performance artists and newlyweds:
Barnor was well-versed in making his clients feel at ease, through vibrant conversation and a background of popular music, creating a unique bond between photographer and sitter. During this period Barnor captured intimate moments of luminaries and key political figures, including Ghana’s first prime minister, Kwame Nkrumah as he pushed for pan-African unity, photographing the future leader on several special occasions.
Not only was James Barnor engaged as the first photojournalist to work with the Daily Graphic – a newspaper brought to Ghana by the British media group, the Daily Mirror – he was also regularly commissioned by Drum magazine – South Africa’s influential anti-apartheid journal for lifestyle and politics – for whom he photographed several news features, including a staged nuclear family breakfast featuring Gold Coast’s champion boxer Roy Ankrah, aka The Black Flash.
Today Barnor is retired and lives in Brentford, London. In 2009, James Barnor began working with Autograph ABP, who presented a preview of his first major solo exhibition at the former W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University, USA, before showcasing the full retrospective curated by Renée Mussai at Autograph ABP’s centre Rivington Place, London, before touring to the South African National Gallery, and other venues. For this current exhibition James has been working closely with Future of Ghana Regional Manager for France, Shasha Osei in regards to PR. Subsequently she was able to secure a special preview of the exhibition on Monday 5 October 2015 in front of distinguished guests including the Ghana Ambassador to France H.E Johanna Odonkor Svaniker and the President of Ghana H.E John Dramani Mahama
The exhibition launches and is open to public from 8 October 2015 at 6pm local time
Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière
51 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004
T: +33 6 50 06 98 68
Future of Ghana (@FutureofGH)