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Photo London 2023 : A stronger African presence


As the eighth edition of Photo London opened on May 11, the presence of many photographers from the African continent among the stands reflects the growing importance of this part of the photography market. Overview.

Let us first note the strong French interest in this region. The Bonne Espérance gallery (Paris) presents a South African selection through a retrospective of the work of the great documentary maker Jürgen Schadeberg, whose 28 exhibited photographs crystallize all his genius. The latter is presented alongside the series The Right to Play by Lee-Anne Olwage, portraits of young Kenyan girls covered in flowers evoking the obstacles to the freedoms and autonomy of many women and girls on the continent or across the world. Galerie 193 (Paris) is exhibiting a series of portraits by Nyaba Ouedraogo aimed at denouncing the still very colonial perception of Africa today. In front of colored backgrounds, we observe men each wearing a traditional African mask as well as body paint.

The NIL gallery (Paris) is dedicating its stand entirely to African photography and is presenting a superb series by the young Ghanaian Caleb Kwarteng Prah, a tribute to the working classes of his country full of references to Ghanaian urban culture as much as to the phenomenon of upcycling very present in Africa. Alongside it, the Motion series by the Ethiopian Girma Berta expresses all the vitality and effervescence of the continent’s big cities through portraits of cyclists or motorcyclists highlighted by a spun background. Finally, the young Maât gallery (Paris) exhibits the elegant and ultra-saturated images of Ghanaian Prince Gyasi alongside the poetic explorations of Moroccan Ismail Zaidy as well as Fatimazohra Serri whose work confronts gender inequalities in Moroccan Muslim culture.

Internationally, the London gallery Messums Wiltshire and the Australian Mars Gallery present the colorful and patterned portraits of the Ethiopian Atong Atem. Homecoming Gallery, a young gallery based in Amsterdam, also exhibits portraits, those of the Ghanaian Derrick Ofosu Boateng, luminous and full of life stagings, in which he plays superbly with colors. Finally, at the English Koop Projects, the Congolese Baudouin Mouanda stages his country through poetic images, sometimes joyful, sometimes dark.

Most of these galleries were born recently. A new guard that opens the horizons of the market towards areas or regions that have been ignored for too long.

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