Official Carrier of Bamako Encounters

Life according to James Barnor


Guest curator: Clémentine de la Féronnière – gallery owner, editor and exhibition curator Location: Musée du District
Around 80 photographs, many of which are being exhibited for the first time

In his studio in Accra in the 1950s, pioneering photographer James Barnor, born in Ghana in 1929, immortalised a nation seeking modernity and independence against a background of music and lively conversation. He was an eyewitness to the Sub-Saharan countries’ drive for independence, and was involved with the burgeoning diaspora in London in the 1960s. As a close collaborator of DRUM, he did several shoots for this important lifestyle magazine founded in South Africa in 1951 and a symbol of anti-apartheid resistance. In the late 1960s, he was recruited and trained by Agfa-Gavaert, and returned to Ghana to set up the country’s first colour-processing facilities. James Barnor now lives in the United Kingdom and devotes most of his time to promoting his work in a spirit of legacy-building.
The La Vie selon James Barnor (Life according to James Barnor) exhibition offers an interdisciplinary view of the pivotal themes of his work, chosen by the artist himself. The exhibition aims to go beyond a rhetorical categorisation of 40 years of photography and draws inspiration in particular from James Barnor’s final photographs in Ghana in the 1970s and 80s. Relatively unexplored until now, they have emerged as symbols of the accomplishment of his work, characterised by a lightness, a freedom and a joie de vivre that are shared by the subjects in his photographs.

Institut Français
Ministère de la Culture de l’Artisanat et du Tourisme du Mali
© BAMAKO ENCOUNTERS