James Barnor’s work is remarkable but not just for the lifespan of years recording culture around the world. In Barnor’s work you can feel the richness of life behind the portraits.
Author: Christabel Johanson
“The starting point of my work is what I refer to as a ‘love-note to my daughter’. I started capturing her everyday life as a child. I evolved my style through play and experimenting.”
Christabel Johanson interviews Benji Reid
Light Bike, 2021, Giclée print, 110 x 165 cm. Edition of 8 plus 2 artist’s proofs
Using only drawing materials such as pencil and charcoal, Ojih Odutola tackles the body of work much like a poem or novel. The artist was said to spend months crafting images that created a structure similar to chapters of a novel.
Christabel Johanson on Nigerian-American artist Toyin Ojih Odutola
Toyin Ojih Odutola, A Pull at the Back of a Mind, 2019 © Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
By playing photographer and subject, Muholi keeps the authenticity of both roles and redefines the transaction between those roles. It is true to say that she is both (and neither) the dominant and submissive party. This is the traditional power dynamic examined through the styles she uses.
Christabel Johanson on Zanele Muholi
Somnyama Ngonyama II, Oslo, 2015 © Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York.
Being in post-colonial society there is a narrative of identity that was placed upon you. It’s as though you’re expected to play a role – you’ve been given a script and you’re doing your best to play into this idea and deliver this character. As a woman you are striving to live up to the standard of Eurocentric women, a standard that’s difficult for even some European women.