The Arts Club and Wedel Art are delighted to announce a solo exhibition by photographer, Sory Sanlé (b. 1943). Born in Burkina Faso (at the time Upper Volta), a former French colony in West Africa, Sanlé began his photography career in 1960 – the same year the country gained its hard-earned independence.
The exhibition at The Arts Club shows a selection of black and white photographs taken across 1965-85, and documenting the energetic culture of the newly autonomous country. Sanlé’s photographs showcase a community at a vibrant cultural crossroads between tradition and modernity. His studio appealed to the burgeoning pop culture and nightlife flourishing acrossBurkina Faso, capturing lively portraits and scenes of celebration. Inspired by recent screenings at Bobo-Dioulasso’s two international cinemas, many of Sanlé’s youths are captured in costumes, dressing themselves as cowboys, pirates and knights. Offering a choice of painted and store-bought backdrops, alongside props such as a motorbike or telephone, Sanle’s subjects could re-enact film scenes, assume characters or simply pose in their finest clothes.
Rediscovered in recent years, Sanlé has since exhibited in major museums and galleries around the world including the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris and Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibition at The Arts Club reaffirms the importance of Sanlé’s work in capturing a pivotal moment in the history of Burkina Faso, and the African continent’s wider shift towards independence, as a whole.
The exhibition is curated by Amelie von Wedel and Pernilla Holmes of Wedel Art. Sory Sanlé is represented by David HillGallery, London.