Prolific works by Ghanaian photographer, James Barnor go on exhibit in France.
Nov 10, 2015 The works of James Barnor, a pioneer of Ghanaian photography, recently went on display at the “Ever Young” exhibition in Paris.
Going by the same name as his studio in the 1950s in Accra, the “Ever Young” exhibition created a narrative of two societies in transition.
From theatrical portraiture and parties on the beach to Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah kicking a football, the first section of the exhibit retraced Ghana’s movement towards independence from Britain.
Art gallerist and publisher, Clementine de la Feronniere, described James Barnor as a witness of a remarkable era.
“There’s the studio section where we can see Ghanaian life and we really realize that people at the time were full of hope, of a foolhardy dynamism and really wanted to do lots of things and it was indeed a prosperous period. There’s the whole political section, the gaining of Ghana’s independence was planned. So there was almost ten years of preparation of which he witnessed,”
Barnor, who was the first photojournalist to work with British-established Daily Graphic newspaper, captured some of Ghana’s most emblematic figures. His portraits included President Nkrumah attending a concert with CPP members and Ghana’s champion boxer Roy Ankrah eating corn flakes with his family.
Sarah Preston, who initiated the production of the collection book “Ever Young”, said:
“In 2011, when Paris Photo invited Africa, I noticed the work of James Barnor at the stand of the Baudoin Lebon gallery. And it is true that it is the kind of work which stood out from the other African works we are used to seeing in France in particular, which are more studio photos, posed, black and white, quite classic. And James’ work was in color, it was everyday life in Accra, so, well, it called out to me,”