Emmanuel Lucky Sparrow, the backdrop painter, and his girlfriend. | Undated photo by JACQUES TOUSSELE

 
On View presents images from noteworthy exhibitions
 

POST-INDEPENDENCE STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY in West and Central Africa is celebrated around the world. “Photo Cameroon: Studio Portraiture, 1970s-1990s,” provides a lens through which to view life and culture during an era of change in Cameroon, a nation whose photography has received far less international exposure, compared with its counterparts in Mali and Senegal. More than 100 photographs sourced from the archives of Cameroonian photographers Jacques Toussele (1939-2017), Joseph Chila, and Samuel Finlak are on view. The exhibition is billed as the first in the United States to explore extensively the work of the three photographers.

“The photographs in this exhibition will give viewers a glimpse into the incredible diversity that characterizes the Grassfields region of Cameroon,” Erica Jones, the co-curator of the exhibition who serves as Fowler’s curator of African arts, said in a statement. “The sitters introduce us to a range of religious and cultural groups in the region, their urban and rural experiences, and various moments of private and public lives.” CT

 

“Photo Cameroon: Studio Portraiture, 1970s-1990s” is on view at the Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif., July 1–December 5, 2021

FIND MORE about the exhibition and virtual opening program on July 11

 


JOSEPH CHILA (born Mbouda, Cameroon, 1948), Two women, Mayo Darlé, 2021 (inkjet print from digital scan of original undated negative). | © Joseph Chila, Courtesy Fowler Museum at UCLA

 


JOSEPH CHILA (born Mbouda, Cameroon, 1948), Possibly the children of Al Haji Idrissu, a Bamum merchant from Foumban, 2021 (inkjet print from digital scan of original undated negative). | © Joseph Chila, Courtesy Fowler Museum at UCLA

 


JOSEPH CHILA, (born Mbouda, Cameroon, 1948), Two young men, 2021 (inkjet print from digital scan of original undated negative). | © Joseph Chila, Courtesy Fowler Museum at UCLA

 


SAMUEL FINLAK (born Bongor, Cameroon, 1958), Franscisca Ngecop and two generations of her family, near Atta village at Sonkolong Mbam/Golori, 2021 (inkjet print from digital scan of original circa 1985 negative). Shown, Front row: Gemkon Philimon’s children, Flori and Fidelis; Back row: Franscisca Ngecop (center) with her sons Emmanuel Njacak (left) and Gemkon Philimon (right) | © Samuel Finlak, Courtesy Fowler Museum at UCLA

 


SAMUEL FINLAK, (born Bongor, Cameroon, 1958), Bebi Kangsua, 2021 (inkjet print from digital scan of original 1980s negative). | © Samuel Finlak, Courtesy Fowler Museum at UCLA

 


SAMUEL FINLAK (born Bongor, Cameroon, 1958), Infant standing with boombox, 2021 (inkjet print from digital scan of original circa 1985 negative). | © Samuel Finlak, Courtesy Fowler Museum at UCLA

 


SAMUEL FINLAK (b. Bongor, Cameroon, 1958), Group of Friends, Atta, 2021 (inkjet print from digital scan of original undated negative). | © Samuel Finlak, Courtesy Fowler Museum at UCLA

 


JACQUES TOUSSELE (b. Bamessingué, Cameroon, 1939–2017), Couple Reclining, 2021 (inkjet print from digital scan of original undated negativeZ0. | © Jacques Toussele’s Estate, Courtesy Fowler Museum at UCLA

 


JACQUES TOUSSELE (born Bamessingué, Cameroon, 1939–2017), Two senior men in toghu with fly whisks, 2021 (inkjet print from digital scan of original undated negative). | © Jacques Toussele’s Estate, Courtesy Fowler Museum at UCLA

 


JACQUES TOUSSELE (b. Bamessingué, Cameroon, 1939–2017), Man with motorcycle in studio, 2021 (inkjet print from digital scan of original undated negative). | © Jacques Toussele’s Estate, Courtesy Fowler Museum at UCLA

 

TOP IMAGE: JACQUES TOUSSELE (b. Bamessingué, Cameroon, 1939–2017), Emmanuel Lucky Sparrow, the backdrop painter, and his girlfriend, 2021 (inkjet print from digital scan of original undated negative). | © Jacques Toussele’s Estate, Courtesy Fowler Museum at UCLA

*The works on view are inkjet prints made in 2021 from digital scans of the original archival negatives

 

FIND MORE about the archives of Jacques Toussele

 

BOOKSHELF
“Joseph Chila and Samuel Finlak: Two Portrait Photographers in Cameroon” was published in 2005. Also consider the exhibition catalog “You Look Beautiful Like That: The Portrait Photographs of Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibe” from Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum, “Malick Sidibé: Mali Twist,” and “Seydou Keita.” Meanwhile, “Samuel Fosso: Autoportrait” documents the work of Samuel Fosso, who was born in Cameroon, grew up in Nigeria, and currently lives and works in the Central African Republic. “Sory Sanlé: Volta Photo 1965–85” showcases the work of photographer Sory Sanlé, who opened his portrait studio five years after Burkina Faso gained its independence from France.

 

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