During the month of October 2021, Black History has been celebrated with multiple events in London. Among them, the Serpentine Gallery has put on since the 29 May an exhibition of James Barnor's photography. The pictures represent the evolution of the Ghanaian people after their independence.
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 Gallery ended on Sunday 24, 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.
The 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 lovers 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 visitors to rediscover the real love of papered pictures and of the nature of what they represent for people, as Gifty Dzenyo explains:“ Taking pictures is about preserving a moment, preserving history, it is not common now to have print pictures, we have them on our phone, digitally, and you tend to forget because it is so easy, seeing those pictures always remind me of importance of print photos.”
The way James Barnor took his pictures has really struck some people there, the fact that the vast majority of photos represent happiness, joy on important subjects led to questions about the background of James Barnor. Susan, 71, was impressed by the delicacy of the artist in taking the pictures. “His photographs have a very positive view of 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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