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Reflection @ 50 - Nii Obodai

Breathtaking Black and White Photos at Gallerie l’lna

A fresh look by Ghanaian photographer Nii Obodai at post-colonial Ghana with a rather critical lens has resulted in challenging photographs that question the state of Ghana’s development after 50 years of independence. With over fifty black and white photos, some of which have been artistically maneuvered to create astounding effects, they zoom home his message through rhythmical, airtight and forthright images that are completely in tune with the earth and indeed the universe.

Obodai, whose work is on show at Gallerie l’lna in Bamako, manipulates his photos, some of which are replete with anthropology to confront the achievements of Ghana - either in front or reverse gear - while appearing to appreciate a previous era full of nostalgic feelings. “I am trying to find out what is lost in the meaning of our Ghana’s independence and its relationship to the present while inverting negative experiences into positive shades of light”, says Obodai, who pictures have been published in a book titled “Who Knows Tomorrow”. The viewer has no choice but to seamlessly become part of Obodai’s artistic journey, which he undertook throughout Ghana with the Franco Algerian photographer Bruno Boudejal, during activities marking the 50th anniversary of Ghana’s independence. Relics of a decadent era are replete with subtle yet pronounced references to environmental, economic, religious, social and cultural issues. Obodai presents them through reality and illusion as he provides the viewer with compelling images that question the system of things in post independent Ghana.

The images themselves erupt with energy and are thoughtfully combined. They draw the eye into a country that is fussy, liberal and friendly but quite complicated and unsure of its next direction. Undeniably, his carefully constructed images, which are often shot from varied angles, are quite reflective with strong contrasts that tend to play with light. With breathtaking serenity and abstraction, some of Obodai’s subjects, though blinded by light, level a piercing gaze as they express wonder at a photographer with his European colleague who have managed to breakdown economic distance and share in their dilemma. Ghana at 100 will certainly be waiting for Nii Obodai.

John Owoo

Photograph Nii Obodai ©Antoine Tempé

Watch video by Vus d’Afrique - Nii Obodai http://www.vusdafrique.com/bamako/j...

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