Above James Barnor: Accra/London – A Retrospective (Installation view, 19 May – 24 October 2021, Serpentine) Photograph: Zoe Maxwell
Above Members of the Tunbridge Wells Overseas Club, Relaxing after a Hot Summer Sunday Walk, Kent, Courtesy of Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière, 1968.
James Barnor: Accra/London — A Retrospective
19 May — 24 October 2021
Serpentine Galleries, London
Serpentine’s North Gallery has just the thing for photography lovers — the largest survey to date of the pioneering Ghanaian-British photographer James Barnor.
Barnor’s work, which includes studio portraiture, photojournalism, and editorial and lifestyle commissions, covers everything from social and political changes in Accra and London to domestic scenes of family life. There is, however, a thread that connects his work across six decades: the indelible connection with his sitters.
Organised in broadly chronological order, this exhibition centres on the years between 1950 and 1980. Portraits taken at Barnor’s first studio, Ever Young, are shown alongside his era-defining work for South African anti-apartheid publication Drum. Also on display are wonderful works depicting London life in the Swinging Sixties and images from his time managing the first colour-processing laboratory in 1970s Ghana.
‘James Barnor’s work reminds us how thrillingly expansive life is,’ says Hans Ulrich Obrist. ‘His photographs offer the possibility of connection and exchange across continents and through time.’