Home Architect Samuel Fosso receives the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2023

Samuel Fosso receives the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2023

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Cameroonian-born Nigerian photographer Samuel Fosso has won the 2023 Deutsche Börse Foundation Photography Prize for his eponymous retrospective exhibition at the European House of Photography in Paris, tracing nearly five decades of his career. Fosso received the prestigious £30,000 ($37,000) prize at a ceremony at the Photographers Gallery in London on May 11. The other shortlisted artists – Bieke Depoorter, Arthur Jafa and Frida Orupabo – each received £5,000.

Born in Kumba, Cameroon in 1962, Fosso grew up in Nigeria, which he fled in 1972 as the Biafra war raged. Taken in by an uncle in Bangui, in the Central African Republic, Fosso opened his National Photo Studio in 1975, at the age of thirteen. In addition to producing commercial works, he began a series of performative self-portraits, which he would continue to produce throughout his career, and which would eventually earn him a reputation as the “man of a thousand faces”. Among the guises he adopted for these works were those of Martin Luther King, Angela Davis, and Haile Selassi, as well as those of various social archetypes. “I started doing self-portraits just to use spare film; people wanted their pictures the next day, even if the roll wasn’t finished, and I didn’t like the waste. The idea was to send photos to my mother in Nigeria, to show her that I was fine,” he said. The Guardian in 2011.

These works, while vividly demonstrating the role of photography in the construction of myths, also served Fosso personally. “Making pictures of myself later in life was a way for me to reclaim what I missed in my childhood, to take back my thinking,” he said.

“We are delighted to announce that Samuel Fosso is the winner of this year’s prize,” said Shoair Mavlian, Director of the Photogtaphers’ Gallery and President of the Jury. “His sustained exploration of self-portraiture uses a traditional studio approach steeped in history, while his work remains relevant and addresses today’s contemporary political issues with humor and authenticity. Her work has created an extraordinary platform for black voices and artists throughout her career. »

An exhibition of the work of the four photographers is on display at the Photographers’ Gallery until June 11; the show will travel to Muzeum Fotografi w Krakowie, Krakow, where it will run from June 30 to September 17.


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