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James Barnor: Ever Young, Exhibition Opening Reception



Exhibition Opening and Reception

James Barnor: Ever Young

The Sonja Haynes Stone Center in partnership with Autograph ABP presents a retrospective of James Barnor’s street and studio photographs, spanning Ghana and London from the late 1940s to early 1970s. James Barnor’s career covers a remarkable period in history, bridging continents and photographic genres to create a transatlantic narrative marked by his passionate interest in people and cultures. Through the medium of portraiture, Barnor’s photographs represent societies in transition: Ghana moving towards its independence and London becoming a cosmopolitan, multicultural metropolis. The exhibition showcases a range of street and studio photographs – modern and vintage – with elaborate backdrops, fashion portraits in glorious colour, as well as social documentary features, many commissioned for pioneering South African magazine Drum during the ‘swinging 60s’ in London.

In the early 1950s, Barnor’s photographic studio ‘Ever Young’ in Jamestown, Accra was visited by civil servants and dignitaries, performance artists and newly-weds. During this period, Barnor captured intimate moments of luminaries and key political figures such as Ghana’s first Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah as he pushed for pan-African unity, and commonwealth boxing champion Roy Ankrah. In 1960s London, Barnor photographed Muhammad Ali training for a fight at Earl’s Court, BBC Africa Service reporter Mike Eghan posing at Piccadilly Circus and a multinational cohort of fashionable Drum cover girls.

James Barnor was born in Accra, Ghana in 1929 and started his photographic career with a makeshift studio in Jamestown. From the early 1950s he operated ‘Ever Young’ studio in Accra and worked as a photographer for the Daily Graphic newspaper, as well as Drum, Africa’s foremost lifestyle and politics magazine. He left Ghana for the UK in 1959 and studied photography at Medway College of Art in Kent. He returned to Ghana in 1969 as a representative for Agfa Gevaert to introduce color processing facilities in Accra. He is currently retired and lives in Brentford, London. Since Autograph ABP’s archival intervention in 2010, Barnor’s work has been shown internationally at venues including Harvard University, Boston; South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Rivington Place, London; Tate Britain, London; and Paris Photo 2012.

Presented by the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History in partnership with Autograph ABP. An Autograph ABP touring exhibition curated by Renée Mussai. This event is co-sponsored by the African Studies Center at UNC Chapel Hill.

James Barnor: Ever Young is on display at the Stone Center’s Robert and Sallie Brown Gallery and Museum from September 22 through October 28, 2016.

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September 22, 2016
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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Sonja Haynes Stone Center
150 South Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27599 United States
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