Presented until July 31, 2022 at MASI Lugano in Italy, the largest review ever devoted to the artist photographer James Barnor between his excursion in the years 1929 in Accra and his work in London.

« James Barnor : Accra/London – A Retrospective », presents his long profession, spanning sixty years and two continents. James Barnor was a remarkable visual observer of the social and political changes of his time – from the freedom of Ghana to the African diaspora and the existence of London’s African population group.

With his real and unconstrained eye, the Ghanaian-British photographer has explored an assortment of fields, societies and genres, from photojournalism and social storytelling to studio representation, fashion and lifestyle. 

07.-James-Barnor_MASI-1024x1024 « James Barnor : Accra/London - A Retrospective », a consecration for the Ghanaian artist photographer in Italy
James Barnor Mike Eghan at Piccadilly Circus, London, 1967 Gelatin Silver Print
© James Barnor/Autograph ABP, London

Although he has influenced generations of photographic artists in Africa and around the world, his work has recently been rediscovered and appreciated.

The exhibition, « James Barnor : Accra/London – A Retrospective », presents a selection of over 200 works from the artist’s extensive individual documentation, including many previously unpublished photographs. Whether family photos, dispatch photos, or exchange missions, James Barnor‘s remarkable ability to convey official and individual narratives in the conditions of personal discourse, experiences in the light of human association, shines through.

08.-James-Barnor_MASI-1024x1024 « James Barnor : Accra/London - A Retrospective », a consecration for the Ghanaian artist photographer in Italy
James Barnor Sick-Hagemeyer shop assistant with bottles, taken as a colour guide, Accra, 1971 C-Type print
© James Barnor/Autograph ABP, London

Notwithstanding vintage photographs, reprints and unique reports, « James Barnor : Accra/London – A Retrospective »,  also includes magazine covers and record sleeves, and focuses on the period from 1950 to 1980.

It unfolds in the memorable rooms of Palazzo Reali as an orderly excursion through key moments in the life and work of James Barnor – from his early days in Accra, with his studio, to his years in London; from his most memorable color photographs to his cooperation with Drum magazine and his energetic passion for music and stage expression.

The exhibition, « James Barnor : Accra/London – A Retrospective », also features a video by Campbell Addy in which Barnor introduces his work, and another in which he makes sense of his technique.

Following its run at the Serpentine Galleries in London and MASI in Lugano, « James Barnor : Accra/London – A Retrospective », will travel to the Detroit Institute of Arts in the spring of 2023, with the intention of highlighting the work of a photographic artist whose work has had a significant creative and social impact.

Given in cooperation with Serpentine London, the exhibition « James Barnor : Accra/London – A Retrospective », is organized by Lizzie Carey-Thomas, Chief Curator and Awa Konaté of Culture Art Society as Assistant Curator with a joint effort by Clémentine de la Féronnière, Isabella Seniuta and Sophie Culière, for the James Barnor Archive.  

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