In December 2015 Claire and Steyn had a chat about West-Africa and Ghana in particular. During this conversation Claire recommended to continue their talk with James Barnor, whom she accompanied during his visit to Foam Photography Museum in Amsterdam. A few days later we had a Skype call.
We immediately felt a strong connection and as building blocks came together, a shared mission to share a different story about Ghana popped up. A critical story, but at the same time a story of hope and opportunity. “So, do you want to go on an Impact Journey?” “A Journey back to Ghana? With the both of you? …Yes, I would love to!”
In the meanwhile we met again in Amsterdam, we visited his place in London to dig into his extensive archive of stories and photographs – see updates – spent some time in Accra, Ghana and worked on his gigantic photo archive in Paris.
6 March 2017 they celebrated the 60th day of independence from British colonial powers in Accra. A celebration at the one hand and a moment of reflection at the other, because what were the promises of Nkrumah in 1957? What was his bigger plan? And what has been achieved in the previous 60 years?
How better tell the story of independence through the lens of one of the most iconic Ghanaian photographers? The one that captured the first president Nkrumah, worked for several Ghanaian newspapers, the US embassy and kept on photographing for decades.
In the meanwhile, we have returned to Ghana and spent some time in the extensive archives of the African Studies Centre in Leiden for his DRUM magazines. We’d like to go back to the archives and dig deeper into James’ photojournalistic side working for DRUM and the US Embassy (ao). We’d like to share the stories of independence from a wide range of perspectives using a transmedia approach, including a short documentary.
We aim to show the exhibition not only in the Netherlands, but at the same time we’d like to bring back these stories to Ghana. The material will be the base for discussions on identity, neo-colonialism and the belonging of archival material.