In my grandmother’s shop in Makola, dozens of people pass by all the time. I love to sit there and watch people walk by. Children, women, men and tourists all squeeze through the narrow alley ways. During my last trip to Ghana, I decided to document the people and colours I saw. I called the series “The Observer” because that is who I am in that environment; it’s all that I can be.
Meet Your Photographer, a series that will be introducing you to the contributing photographers of yagazieemezi.com. You will be seeing their work on here fairly often so this is an excellent way for you to get familiar with these talented folks. I enjoyed this series in particular because it gives insight or rather, an outlook on the everyday goings and comings that takes place in the marketplace; as though seen through the eyes of the shop owner herself.
Sometimes it’s just ridiculously simple.
Not much to add about these photos. I like them and they remind me of the value of keeping my eyes open and brain working even if in the midst of something potentially mind-deadening.
More than any other continent, Africa’s development has been dictated and perverted by foreign greed, and likewise its image has been defined by the foreign lens. That is the cage of stereotype which the best African photographers have fought to escape for the past 60 years: often rejecting the Western obsession with traditional ceremony and costume, rejecting similarly the associations with violence, poverty and mayhem, sometimes rejecting even the notion of Africa itself—insisting instead on the vast array of identities that have germinated in the continent’s soil.
Photography invites and facilitates the process of appropriation and re-appropriation of identity, in a continent where post-colonial or post-apartheid identity are major themes for artists. It naturally engages with social and political issues that compel many artists; telling stories that need to be told.
As much as the “Africa is a country” thing is an annoying Western ignorant viewpoint, I found that it worked in this case. The commonality of having to deal with resolving cultures after Europe messed with things in the continent makes sense to me. The presentation wasn’t about how all Africa was the same but rather how different African artists dealt with the cultural whiplash of being unleashed from colonialism and set loose in the global economy.
This auction/collection totally fits in with this idea of reappropriating culture in the midst of a post-colonial world. It’s why I fall into the creation side of the “what democratized photography” debate.