, December 07, 2021

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James Barnor’s exhibition on Black History was “reflecting his emotional response to freeze the moment”


  •   3 min reads
James Barnor’s exhibition on Black History was “reflecting his emotional response to freeze the moment”

During the month of October 2021, Black History is celebrated with multiple events in London. Among them, the Serpentine Gallery has proposed since the 29th of May an exhibition of James Barnor's photography. The pictures represent the evolution of the Ghanaian people after their independence.

Striking Images

From Ghana to London and from the 50s until the 80s, James Barnor has captured hundreds of pictures of the rise of Ghanaian independence. The photographer’s exhibition in the Serpentine ended on Sunday October the 24th, 2021, and all the tickets were already booked for a few days.
In some people there was a sense of belonging through those various pictures of the artist. Gifty Dzenyo, 28 years old, photographer, has been touched not only from an artistic aspect but personally.

“I loved this exhibition, my parents were Ghanaian, James Barnor captured the moment, and it is important to preserve the history and be able to see how Ghanaian people were like”,  said the young photographer.

James Barnor exhibition tells a story that fascinates people, a story that resonates with others, as David, 59 years old, explains: “I am interested in the independence movement in Ghana because actually there is something going on quite similar with Scotland at the moment, a lot of people in Scotland are looking at how other countries become independent, what they do? The history here is very good on that.”

Reflection of emotions

James Barnor started doing black and white pictures in the early 50s and with time in the 70s he returned to Ghana and began taking colour pictures. His works are, for the passionate of photography, an example, a source of inspiration. A young woman who had just graduated from photography paid a lot of attention to the way, the angles, the pictures that were taken.

“James Barnor takes very clean and light pictures, he pays really attention to everything, he is down to earth, he shared his experience and reflecting his emotional response to freeze the moment”.

The exhibition allowed to rediscover the real love of papered pictures and of the nature of what they represent for people, as Gifty Dzenyo explains: “ taking picture is about persevering a moment, persevering history, it is not common now to have print pictures, we have it on our phone, digitally and you turn to forget because it is so easy, seeing those picture always remind me the importance of print photo.”

The way James Barnor took his pictures has really struck out some of the people there, the fact that the vast majority of photos represents happiness, joy on important subjects led to questions about the background of James Barnor. Susan, 71 years old, was impressed by the delicacy of the artist in taking the pictures. “His photographs have very positive view of the Ghana and I keep wondering what his personal experiences have been, I’d like to know more about his personal narrative, I would love to see another exhibition of James Barnor”, explains the septuagenarian.

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