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I was here, I saw here: Six visions of contemporary Africa

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From Eva Diallo’s personal documentation of migration, to Omar Victor Diop’s dynamic portraits and François-Xavier Gbré’s exploration of urban space, I was here, I saw here, presents six photographers who explore themes surrounding identity and tradition in Africa. “This exhibition is based on the concept of temporality,” explains Ange-Frédéric Koffi, an exhibitor as well as co-curator, alongside Emmanuelle Walter. “With his or her own vision, each photographer questions the current changes of a perpetually bubbling continent. What is the link between past and present?”

© Eva Diallo

Opening tomorrow at Les Vagamondes festival in Mulhouse, France, the exhibition also features snapshots from Bamako, Mali, by rapper and photographer King Massasy, and Mauro Pinto’s images thatcapture the sacred leaf masks of the Bwa people in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

© François-Xavier Gbré.
© Mauro Pinto.

“These photographs have been chosen for their commitment and their questions on contemporary Africa,” explains Koffi. “The photographers criticise colonialism and its remnants, some of them have chosen to approach it directly, while others are more implicit and subtle in their representation.” Walter adds that although the photographers come from different artistic backgrounds – documentary photography, fine art, architecture, fashion — their work shares a common thread. “They are infused with the question of an elusive identity. They all question the role of Africans in the history of the world.”

I was here, I saw here will be on show at Les Vagamondes festival in Mulhouse, France, from 14 to 25 January 2020.

© King Massasy.
© Ange-Frédéric Koffi.
Marigold Warner

Marigold Warner joined the British Journal Photography in April 2018, and currently holds the position of Online Editor. She studied English Literature and History of Art at the University of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her work has been published by titles including the Telegraph Magazine, Huck, Gal-dem, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.

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