Opening Program (online)—Photo Cameroon: Studio Portraiture, 1970s–1990s
Photo Cameroon: Studio Portraiture 1970–1990s features more than 110 black-and-white images by Jacques Toussele, Joseph Chila, and Samuel Finlak, who ran successful photo studios during Cameroon’s post-independence era. Their clients often chose specific dress, props, and poses to show their cultural, political, and religious affiliations, musical preferences, important relationships, vocations, leisure activities, and more. These portraits expand our knowledge of life and individuality in Cameroon, and offer glimpses of communities that were and continue to be diverse, vibrant, and responsive to change.
The program will include a welcome by the co-curator of the exhibition, the Fowler’s Curator of African Arts Erica P. Jones; a sneak peek at the exhibition with co-curator David Zeitlyn; and a conversation with Sam van Schaik, Head of the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme, which was instrumental in digitizing Toussele’s photo archive.
L: Jacques Toussele (b. Bamessingué, Cameroon, 1939-2017); Emmanuel Lucky Sparrow, the backdrop painter, and his girlfriend; © Jacques Toussele’s Estate; Top: Joseph Chila (b. Mbouda, Cameroon, 1948); Possibly the children of Al Haji Idrissu, a Bamum merchant from Foumban; © Joseph Chila; Bottom: Samuel Finlak (b. Bongor, Cameroon, 1958); Bebi Kangsua; © Samuel Finlak.