an exhibition pays tribute to the work of photographer James Barnor on the women of his country

an exhibition pays tribute to the work of photographer James

In Ghana, a month-long festival is taking place, of which Radio France Internationale (RFI) is a partner, in honor of the country’s first photojournalist, James Barnor. The program includes workshops, concerts and exhibitions of his photos: around fifteen in total, tracing more than 60 years of his career, from Ghana to the United Kingdom. Today internationally recognized for having immortalized the key moments of his country’s independence, he has also become known for one thing: recounting the daily lives of Ghanaian women and its diaspora. Reporting.

2 mins

With our correspondent in Accra, Victor Cariou

As you push open the door to the Institute Museum of Ghana, a photo instantly catches your eye: a woman, 1960s bob cut and turquoise dress, posing in front of Accra’s first color photo studio, multi-colored water cans at her feet and in his hands. The cliché of a woman, but, above all, of a look.

His look yes, which says “Don’t look for me! “. Sally Eba Polley is the one in charge of this Bold exhibition, part of the James Barnor Festival.

This exhibition allows men to gain insight into the mindset of women »

1950s, 1960s, in Accra or London, in black and white or in color: in the fifteen photos selected, the same theme recurs. That of the emancipation of Ghanaian women. “ We see here the important position that was occupied by women in the Ghanaian spheredescribes Sally Eba Polley. In each image, we find an idea of ​​power, this idea which says: I’m here to occupy space“. I think the work of James Barnor illustrates this perfectly. “.

Models, businesswomen, soldiers, icons: all have passed before the eye of the Ghanaian photographer. A view that is still relevant today, sixty years later. “ There are all these false ideas, this propaganda about the relationships between men and womeninsists Sally Eba Polley. This exhibition allows men to have a glimpse of what the state of mind of women can be, to delve into archives that speak of what we are today “.

The James Barnor exhibition, from May 31 to June 8, 2024 in Accra, Ghana, presents the journey of the Ghanaian photographer who is celebrating his 95th birthday, with nearly 40,000 images from Ghana, from the 1950s to the 1970s.

James Barnor Festival: an exhibition also dedicated to works by young Ghanaian photographers

If James Barnor’s work has crossed the ages, it is also because the photographer holds at his heart the art of transmission. A transmission at work within the festival itself: 16 young Ghanaian photographers, coming from all over the country, brought together their photos inspired by the work of their mentor in a single exhibition. James Barnor returns to the origins of this project: “ My manager, in Paris, found that Ghanaian photographers were not connected with my work. For example, I have a foundation that offers prizes every year. But during the first edition, I don’t remember that Ghanaian photographers applied. So my manager wanted everyone to participate, and that’s a great idea. And I think we are succeeding! » The photographer continues: “ Once we have gathered several people together, sixteen photographers who each work in their own way with their own experience and who produce something, that’s a starting point! That’s why I call this event a festival, not James Barnor’s birthday. [il a fêté ses 95 ans le 6 juin 2024, NDLR], or the James Barnor exhibition, which would have had little impact in the end: an exhibition, you go there, you leave there, and that’s it. This festival is an event that will move us forward, and that’s why I like it a lot. »