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Galerie Talmart : Adama Sylla : Along the water


The Galerie Talmart recently presented the exhibition Au fil de l’eau by Senegalese photographer Adama Sylla as part of AKAA (Also Known As Africa) 2023.

Adama Sylla, born in 1934, is the last Saint-Louis photographer of his generation still alive. His work has been shown in several exhibitions at the Institut de Saint-Louis (2019), at the Musée de la Femme in Dakar (2020), at the Galerie Sud in Lyon (2022) and at the Talmart and La La Lande galleries in Paris (2023).

Trained at the Musée de l’Homme, by the “cinema verite” of Jean Rouch in the 1960s, curator at the CRDS and daily photographer in his studio in Langue de Barbarie, Adama Sylla is a documented witness to the transformation of city. Since 2018, the dean has opened his archives to classify his thousands of photos. Among these, numerous photographs which deal over several decades with themes as varied as the populations of Saint-Louis and their traditions, heritage, the 1966 Negro Arts Festival, the effects of the climate, agriculture, young workers, etc.

Adama Sylla photographed from the 1950s to the 2000s using film in various formats. To date, the photos selected are mainly in 6×6 format, which offer exceptional richness in the formal approach and in the artist’s approach. A young photographer never parting with his Rolleiflex, he photographed the city and its inhabitants and its monuments or the more remote areas where he went to discover lifestyles that he documented, ablutions and working around the wells, breeding techniques… The photographs are therefore mainly in black and white square format.

His work is inseparable from the city of Saint-Louis and its environment, that is to say the Senegal River first, the Atlantic Ocean, the inhabitants of the island, with practices fairly integrating the endogenous heritage and the European contribution, the fishermen of the Langue de Barbarie, in short the population in general in its diversity.

Adama Sylla writes reality. Its modernity lies in the fact that his photographs are rarely staged, that chance enriches them, in the name of what Jean Rouch taught the young photographer trained in Paris in the sixties: “cinema vérité. »

His works have been exhibited in Senegal and France including in Paris in 2023, Talmart and La La Lande galleries and at the AKAA show.

Born in 1934, Adama Sylla will celebrate his 90th birthday on February 27th, 2024.


Talmart éditions et galerie
22 rue du Cloître Saint-Merri
75004 Paris

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