05.04.2020 – 31.01.2021

Africa - In the view of the photographers

Africa - In the view of the Photographers

Today’s discourses on Africa are manifold – as manifold as the images we have of everyday life there. Both are fed by a Western narrative that saddles the “Black Continent” with all kinds of clichés – whether the stuff of dreams or of nightmares. In images that are at times documentary, at times artistic, these nine photographers from Morocco, Algeria, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and South Africa provide a picture of the self-assurance and the vitality of the people in their respective home country. In particular, they tell stories that stem from their immediate surroundings: they tell of everyday life in Africa’s cities and industry, they trace remnants of the past, and they portray strands of popular culture. Their topics include the mining industry’s mixed legacy in South Africa, the impact of environmental pollution, life in the  
Democratic Republic of the Congo and the atmosphere inside Algeria’s football stadiums. The desire to rethink Africa and, above all, to retell its stories is a leitmotif for all of the participating photographers. With its powerful pictorial narratives, this exhibition generates a fascinating dialogue between different cultures. Here, at the Völklinger Hütte UNESCO World Heritage Site, Africa is on display – together with its diverse discourses on the future. 

The exhibition is being held under the patronage of the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development,
Dr. Gerd Müller.

The photographers

Omar Victor Diop

Omar Victor Diop
*1980 Dakar, Senegal

Omar Victor Diop lives in Dakar, Senegal. He works primarily in art and fashion photography. Some of his works also combine photography with other art forms such as costume design, styling and creative writing in order to form a “Gesamtkunstwerk”. Photography is his chosen medium for capturing the diversity of modern African society and its various lifestyles. In the series “Studio des vanités”, Omar Diop portrays friends and colleagues from Dakar in a revival of the tradition of studio photography that once flourished in western Africa.

Omar Victor Diop / Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris  
Diop1 2
Oumy Ndour | The Studio of Vanities
Diop1 3
Selly | The Studio of Vanities
Diop1 1
Mariama | The Studio of Vanities

Ilan Godfrey

Ilan Godfrey
*1980 Johannisburg, South Africa

Ilan Godfrey has a master's degree in Photojournalism. He explores the social, political, economic and environmental currents that shape South Africa. Ilan Godfrey’s series “Legacy of the Mine” chooses a documentary approach in order to build a visual narrative of stories of how coal, gold and diamond mining has impacted the local population.

Osborne Macharia

Osborne Macharia
*1986 Nairobi, Kenya
The desire to rethink Africa and, above all, retell its stories is what guides artist. In his photographs, he combines the imaginary with a true historical core. His Afrofuturistic motifs merge elements from science fiction, historical novels, fantasy and philosophy. In 2018, he was commissioned to create artwork for the promotion of the Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther”. 

Website: www.k63.studio

Alice Mann

Alice Mann
* 1991 Cape Town, South Africa

Alice Mann is a South African photographic artist known for her intimate portrait essays. Her award-winning series "Drummies", was selected as the winner of the LensCulture Award for Young Photographers (2018). Mann's work is regularly represented at international exhibitions and in leading magazines, such as the New Yorker or the British Vogue.

Alice Man / Courtesy of Afronova Gallery

Fabrice Monteiro

Fabrice Monteiro
*1972 Namur, Belgium
Fabrice Monteiro is of Belgian-Beninese origin. After studies, Monteiro began an international modeling career, discovering the photographic medium. From the terrifying visions of a world strangled by the waste in the series "Prophecy" to the highly stylized portraits, the artist works on social, political and religious themes. 
Website: www.fabricemonteiro.viewbook.com

Fabrice Monteiro / Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris 

Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar

Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar
*1992 Kampala, Uganda

Kibuuka Musika Oscar is a self-taught photographer and artist and an enthusiastic hip-hopper. His work has a native influence from youth culture. In “Breaking Uganda” he shows bboying / breaking / breakdance of the young people in his home country. Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar is co-founder of the Kigali Photo Festival. His works are regularly represented at international exhibitions and journals, such as Washington Post or Art Base Africa.

Léonard Pongo

Léonard Pongo
*1988 Liège, Belgium
In his project “The Uncanny”, which loosely references the Freudian concept of the same name, the photographer offers a personal view of everyday life in the mining province of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
His work has been published worldwide and featured in exhibitions. Pongo’s work is also part of institutional and private collections. 

Website: www.lpongo.com

Fethi Sahraoui

Fethi Sahraoui
*1993 Hassi R’Mel, Algeria
Fethi Sahraoui’s work focuses on the social conditions in his home country. The photographies in the series “Stadiumphilia” are about the stadium. The stadium is a loophole that allows them to escape society’s pressure because of the lack of any other kinds of entertainment. He is a member of the 220 Collective, a family of five photographers who are based in Algeria.


*1984 Khouribga, Morocco
Yoriyas is a photographer, breakdancer and choreographer from Casablanca, in Morocco. When he performs, he is often greeted with the remark: “Oh, you’re from Casablanca! Like the film!” In response, Yoriyas has produced a photography series on his home city entitled “Casablanca, Not the Movie”. Unlike the film Casablanca, his work does not limit the city to postcard motifs or oriental fantasies. Rather, he depicts the city inhabitants in a complex and richly contrasting environment. He is curator at the Musée national de la Photographie in Rabat, which opened in January 2020.

Website: www.yoriyas.com

Yorias Galerie Gallery of photographs by Yoriyas

New African photography

Afrika Pic 46 b

“Origin shapes our view” was the title of a contribution to the radio program New African Photography broadcast by Deutschlandfunk in February of this year. From a non-African perspective, African photography has always been dominated by landscape, travel, animal and ethnological subjects.

Photo narratives from the world’s second-largest continent rarely focus on the people. As a rule, they convey stereotypes of Africa: war, oppression, genocide, drugs and famine. These images continue to shape our view of Africa and its people. For over 30 years now, these images have helped create the culture of Afro-pessimism that has come to dominate the view of Africa in large parts of the industrialised world.

Photography has always also been understood as offering a “window onto the world” and creating a direct relationship to its subject. Yet the works of many African photographic artists transcend the boundaries of the photojournalistic gaze and create works that focus on social and political issues in order to describe a new Africa in the 21st century. As a result, photography in the hands of African photographers is acquiring a growing international recognition. The stories their pictures tell of Africa are brimming with vitality, lust for life and dynamism, and they are proof of the progress Africa is making, far removed from any form of Afro-pessimism.
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