Tuesday, October 3, 2023

New Exhibition Explores West African Studio Photography from ’60s to 2000’s

A new exhibition at the Jack Bell Gallery in London, titled From “Dahomey to Timbuktu” is exploring studio photography shot in West Africa, between the 1960s and the 2000s.

The collection of work includes portraits lensed by several West African photographers – Burkino Faso-born Hamidou Maiga, Republic of Benin’s Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Benin’s Dossa Cosme, and works from Pigeon Studio Voyageur in Ouidah, and Dainoun Maiga, Bamako – with images dated as early as 1960.


While we at SPICE are currently thinking on all things ‘Man’ this month, the exhibition provides a further source of inspiration, with subjects seen posed in their best wears and clutching props for style.

 The gallery explained of the exhibition;

“At a time when many West African countries were gaining independence, studio photography became an important aspect of expressing and redefining local identity.

Common amongst all the photographers in the exhibition is the practice of capturing their fellow countrymen …attired in their finest clothes, often holding props against carefully chosen backdrops.


The photographs give an insider’s viewpoint and an optimistic insight into self-determination.”

The pictures will be available to study up close at the Jack Bell Gallery in London until November 21st, but you can find some of the brilliant West African photographs included here below.

hamidou maiga 1973
By Hamidou Maiga, 1973

1963 Hamidou Maiga
By Hamidou Maiga, 1963

1962 Hamidou Maiga
By Hamidou Maiga, 1962

1987 Dainoun Maiga
By Dainoun Maiga, 1987

musclemen 2012 series Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou
From the “Musclemen Series” by Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou, 2012

c1960 Studio Lumiére Dossa Z Cosme
Image sourced by Studio Lumiére Dossa Z Cosme, c1960

2010Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou
By Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou, 2010

Image source: Jackbellgallery.com, Guardian.com

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