James Barnor, Sick Hagemeyer shop assistant, Accra, c. 1957, Courtesy Autograph
James Barnor, Sick Hagemeyer shop assistant, Accra, c. 1957, Courtesy Autograph
Courtesy Autograph / James Barnor

Serpentine Gallery has announced a virtual event celebrating pioneering Ghanaian photographer James Barnor, ahead of his major survey exhibition. James Barnor will speak with photographer Tyler Mitchell and Hans Ulrich Obrist along with contributions from Sir David Adjaye, Naomi Campbell, and British Vogue Editor-In-Chief Edward Enninful.

Barnor's career as a studio portraitist, photojournalist, and Black lifestyle photographer spans six decades and records major social and political changes in London and Accra. He was Ghana's first full-time newspaper photographer in the 1950s, and is credited with introducing color processing to Ghana in the 1970s. It has been said: "James Barnor is to Ghana and photojournalism what Ousmane Sembène was to Senegal and African cinema."

Ulbrich explained that these events were urgent because public knowledge of his work does not yet match the influence it has had on generations of creators who have followed in his footsteps.

Portraits of the Future: A Celebration of James Barnor” delves into his vision and his influence on generations of artists. Bringing together poets, visual artists, and musicians, the event will include insight from some of the most exhibiting photographers working today, including Liz Johnson Artur, Samuel Fosso, Eric Gyamfi, Zohra Opoku, Dayanita Singh, Ming smith, and Tourmaline.

The free virtual event, which begins March 31 7PM GMT, kicks off a month-long tribute to Barnor on London's Picadilly light screen.

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