#MCM #MotivationMonday … I was surprisingly introduced to the work of Iconic Ghanaian Photographer James Barnor in 2011 while attending an NYU Black Photography Symposium. His image of Marie Hallowi came on the screen and captured my attention thenhis name and Ghana came on the screen and I had to know more. I ended up researching him and wrote a blog which led him to find me on Facebook. He became family and I’ve been on a mission ever since to do as much as possible to promote his work, and to see him get his well earned and deserved recognition in the global world of photography; not only for myself or for him, but for all of us who go through life denied or unaware of the excellence of our history due to the lack of access and dissemination of information.
Over the years, with the diligent work of many, James Barnor is finally getting his just due. Now the world is slowly, but surely taking notice of his contribution to photography in telling the story of Ghana and Africans at home and abroad since the 1950’s.
October came with the release of his first photography book followed by exhibitions at Galerie Clémentine de la Féronniére in Paris( October 7- November 21, 2015) andTropen Museum in Amsterdam (October 16 – March 13, 2016), along with write ups in The Washington Post and The New York Times. Now I’m getting calls from friends in Amsterdam saying that they are seeing James Barnor’s posters and billboards on their streets, announcing his exhibition, while seeing more and more Ghanians and people worldwide being introduced to his work with a sense of pride and gratitude in his contribution to the art of photography. International love and recognition is amazing, but it can never compare to the love and recognition of home.
I dream of a #BlackStarNation where one day soon, the powers that be will recognize the greatness in the responsibility of preserving, protecting, maintaining, telling and keeping our history on our shores and soil, in making the old space for “Ever Young” photography studio in Jamestown, Accra a national landmark, to preserve and cultivate the globally growing multi-million to billion dollar industry of photography, which is seeing vintage and African photography at an all time demand. We are not new to this in talent nor competitiveness, but we have to get out of our own way and allow our dreams to flourish and the phoenixes to rise from the ashes and soar, instead of always finding every excuse and obstacle for stagnation. The Ghanaian proverb says “It takes a village to raise a child”, but it also takes the children of the village to praise and raise our elders in their rightful recognition. It is never too soon or too late for dreams to come true, and for excellence to shine in concrete actions! #BlackStarsShine #OurGlobalFusion
“A civilization develops when people plant trees under which they will never sit” -James Barnor