Celebrating Ghana @ 60 with James Barnor’s Vintage Ghana Photos
I first spoke to James Barnor about 6 years ago and was honoured to meet him at a Ghana Independence Day celeberations event in Kent, England about 4 years ago. Born in 1929, James Barnor is Ghana’s foremost photographer. He has seen and done it all, from photographing Ghana’s first independence day events in 1957 to representing in collections at London’s Tate Gallery. He is said to be the photographer who “decolonised” Ghana through his work.
It is, therefore, befitting that as Ghana celebrates its 60th birthday we here at MyWeku Tastes choose to do so by celebrating the efforts of those on whose shoulders others stand today. In the last few years we have built a unique collection of photographer interviews and highlighted the work of galleries such as the Nubuke Foundation that exhibit the work of these photographers. Ghana has not stood still in the last 60 years. Some of its socio-political and economic challenges have seemed overwhelming. It’s art, photography and cultural development, however, seems to be enjoying a renaissance of sorts. Once a year, in August, Accra becomes the cultural hub of Africa as the Chale Wote street art festival is celebrated in one of its historical neighbourhoods, Jamestown. There is a strong and revolutionary emergence of creative talents re-imaging and offering Ghana’s cuisine in a way that adds to this cultural renaissance.
As we celebrate Ghana at 60 and acknowledge the immense contributions of James Barnor, we hope that Ghana’s footing in the arts and its fast growing reputation as a cultural hub in Africa will continue to shine through. As we pore over the photographs below, let us remember that it is only through God’s grace manifested in unity that will continue to see us through the next decades. As the Congolese proverbs goes “One bracelet does not make a jingle.”