Exhibition / 10 Nov – 11 Dec 2021

More Than A Number

Amina Kadous, Salih Basheer, Jacques Nkinzingabo, Nana Kofi Acquah, Sarah Waiswa, Brian Otieno, Maheder Haileselassie Tadese, Fatoumata Diabaté, Yoriyas Yassine Alaoui, Tom Saater, Wafaa Samir, Steven Chikosi

More Than A Number
© Yoriyas Yassine Alaoui

“We’re more than sand and the seashore, we’re more than numbers.”

- Bob Marley, Wake Up and Live, 1979

More Than a Number is an exhibition which looks to explore our thinking of an Africa caught between modernity and tradition, and how different cultures can produce meaning through images. It invites the audience to engage with the exceptional and thought-provoking work of 12 photographers from Africa. And encourages us to look deeply and clearly into the face of the individual in front of you and engage in a conversation. As Elbert Hubbard wrote, “If men could only know each other, they would neither idolise nor hate”.

Cultural difference and questions of identity within the ‘rights of recognition’ have, for many of the people who have been regulated to the margins of society, been front-line battles in establishing their identity and human worth (Hall, 1992). What happens when we neglect people’s material culture and not truly value it or represent it everywhere for everyone to engage with? And how can we as the audience, be that as individuals or cultural organisations, draw conclusions from what we already know and understand about Africa and Africans through a visual medium. And finally, how can we as cultural organisations in the West be more responsible in how we represent photography from Africa?

More Than a Number is centred around three themes: Representing Fearlessness, Zones of Contact, and Radical Sociality. Amina Kadous, Brian Otieno, Sarah Waiswa and Wafaa Samir’s projects offer highly subjective visions of African identity while exploring what true freedom and fearlessness in art looks like. Nana Kofi Acquah, Salih Basheer, Tom Saater and Yoriyas Yassine Alaouiteleport the audience into their zones of contact and explore the idea of remaking and reimagining our identities. Fatoumata Diabaté, Maheder Haileselassie Tadese, Steven Chikosi and Jacques Nkinzingabo’s projects remind of us of the importance of preserving and caring for our material culture, cultural heritage and its impact, especially in regard to questions of migration, decolonisation, belonging and experience.

Rights of representation need to happen and need to continue happening through a visual medium such as photography. Historically, to be seen and looked at - across race, gender and class - is a human right. Curated by Cynthia MaiWa Sitei, Creative Producer at Ffotogallery Wales.

About Artists

Portrait of Amina Kadous

Amina Kadous

Amina Kadous (b.1991) is a visual artist exploring concepts of memory, based in Cairo, Egypt. She believes in the ephemerality of experience. “Nothing lasts. Documentation of experiences, of the objects and moments of the physical world only lasts when it is passed on.” Characterising herself as an explorer of ideas, she is driven by the spirit of inquiry as she seeks to comprehend the meanings and hidden ambiguities of lives, not her own, through the interactive nature of viewer, photographer, object and environment.

Amina has exhibited at numerous spaces internationally and locally. She is the recipient of AFAC documentary program for this year 2020-21. She participated in the twelfth edition of the Bamako Biennale of Photography and was awarded the Centre Soleil d’Afrique Prize for her project ‘A Crack in the Memory of My Memory’. She was recently a recipient of the Jury’s Special Mentions for the sixth edition of LCC Program, and her work is currently on view at MACAAL’s exhibition ‘Welcome Home Vol. II’.

Portrait of Salih Basheer

Salih Basheer

Salih Basheer (born January 1995) is a Sudanese freelance storyteller / photographer concentrating on social issues. Salih covered the revolutions in Sudan and the waves of protest after the sit-in breakup in Khartoum. His photography has since developed more into long-term projects.

Salih moved to Cairo in 2013 and received his Bachelor Degree in Geography from Cairo University in 2017.Salih’s passion for photography began in 2016, where it helped him rediscover himself and gave him a voice and language to fully express himself through the visual language of photography. Moreover, living in Cairo played a vital role in his journey as a photographer.

Portrait of Jacques Nkinzingabo

Jacques Nkinzingabo

NKINZINGABO is a DJ, Music Producer and self-taught photographer born and based in Kigali. He founded Kwanda Art Foundation with the aim to build the photography community in Rwanda by establishing, educating, improving their knowledge and to promote the art Industry and community in Rwanda and in national and international contexts.

He established the Kigali Center for Photography, both a gallery and a training space to enable exchange, reflection, meeting, listening and the practice and development of new work.

His work focuses on cultural diversity, migration, memories and identity issues and he has been exhibited worldwide.

Portrait of Nana Kofi Acquah

Nana Kofi Acquah

My name is Nana Kofi Acquah. I was born in Elmina, Ghana; 200 metres from where the first slave castle was built in sub-saharan Africa. I grew up in Tema and Accra, and at age 12, I fell in love with poetry, and painting shortly after. I discovered photography when I worked in advertising. I took off as a commercial photographer but quickly realised I could do more with my photographs than sell soap and sex. Today, I consider myself a voice that’s helping change the stereotypical image of Africa, one story at a time.

Portrait of Sarah Waiswa

Sarah Waiswa

Sarah Waiswa is Ugandan-born, Kenya-based documentary and portrait photographer with an interest in exploring the New African Identity on the continent. With degrees in sociology and psychology, Sarah’s work explores social issues in Africa in a contemporary and non-traditional way. In 2015, she was awarded first place in the story and creative categories in the Uganda Press Photo Awards and second place in the Daily Life and portrait categories. In 2016 she was awarded the Discovery Award in Arles, France and in 2017 she was awarded the Gerald Kraak Award in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2018, she was named a Canon Brand Ambassador and was selected for the World Press Photo 6×6 Africa Program. Her work has been exhibited around the world, most recently at the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia. Her work will be exhibited at the Bristol Photo Festival 2021 in collaboration with the Bristol Archives. Her photographs have been published in the Washington Post, Bloomberg, the New York Times, among other publications. Earlier this year she founded African Women in Photography, a non-profit organization dedicated to elevating and celebrating the work of women and non-binary photographers from Africa.

Portrait of Brian Otieno

Brian Otieno

Brian Otieno is deeply committed to sharing stories from his community and his country that rarely make it into the international news. Since 2013, Brian has dedicated his time and energy to bring to light the unseen side of his hometown – Kibera often portrayed as a place of poverty, violence, and disease. Through his project Kibera Stories, he focuses his lenses on a broader spectrum of life where hope, resilience, ambition and a sense of community prevail. Brian is committed to depolarizing and humanizing the traditional narrative that distorts how underprivileged communities are perceived and defined.

Portrait of Maheder Haileselassie Tadese

Maheder Haileselassie Tadese

Maheder Haileselassie Tadese (b.1990) is a photographer based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her inspiration to photograph comes from the history, identity, memories of her own and of people she engages with everyday.

She has been accepted to prestigious programs such as New York Times Portfolio review 2019 and World Press Photo Masterclass East Africa and has made a presentation at RAY Festival, Germany, 2018.

She is also a contributor for @everydayafrica on Instagram and has recently founded Center for Photography in Ethiopia (CPE), a learning and discussion platform for Ethiopian Photographers.

Maheder has been working for wires and major news organizations such as AFP, Reuters, Getty Images, Le Monde and Der Spiegel. Maheder recently curated the photography exhibition titled Baxxe:Home and has also co-edited a photography publication titled Against Gravity. Her works has been shown in numerous exhibitions around the world.

Portrait of Fatoumata Diabaté

Fatoumata Diabaté

Born in 1980 in Mali, Fatoumata Diabaté has been invited to many festivals around the world and has won several awards. She takes part in the Rencontres photographiques de Bamako", the "La Gallicy" photo festival, the Rencontres d’Arles and the Biennale de Dakar. Her work is the subject of several group and individual exhibitions in Mali, France and internationally. In her youth, she was Malick Sidibé’s assistant and in 2013, she creates ‘Le Studio Photo de la Rue, a traveling photo studio which is invited by many cultural spaces and festivals, The Cartier Foundation in Paris in particular. She has been exhibited in various galleries, more recently the 31Project Gallery in South Africa. She has been named 2020 laureate of the Photographic Residences of Quai Branly Museum whose project has just been carried out in Mali and around excision. She divides her time between Montpellier in France and Bamako in Mali.

Portrait of Yoriyas Yassine Alaoui

Yoriyas Yassine Alaoui

Yoriyas Yassine Alaoui, also known as Yoriyas, is a Casablanca-based photographer and performing artist.

Yoriyas’s work is often an intuitively-based observation of urban/public-space and a documentation of daily life and change. His images have been featured in The New York Times and National Geographic. He has received several awards, including the award Les Amis de l’Institut du Monde Arabe for Contemporary Arab Creation 2019 and the 7th Contemporary African Photography at Photo Basel 2018.

He has been exhibited across the world, including in the HERMÈS Foundation in Paris, 836m Gallery in San Francisco, and he curated ‘Sourtna’, the inaugural exhibition of Morocco’s National-Museum-of-Photography in Rabat.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Yoriyas was selected by The New York Times as one of the ‘artists to follow’ and received the COVID-19 Emergency Fund from National Geographic.

Portrait of Tom Saater

Tom Saater

Tom Saater is a documentary photographer, film-maker and podcast producer from Nigeria. His work is focused on contemporary social issues, like immigration, the economy, and humanitarianism. His work has been exhibited internationally, including in the Venice Biennale, University of Oxford, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Denmark, and as part of the EverydayAfrica traveling exhibitions across the world and at the LOOK3 Festival and Addis Foto Festival, Lagos Photo, among others. He’s worked for International media outlets and organisations including The Economist, Google, Washington Post, New York Times, TIME, Zeit Germany, State secretariat for Immigration Switzerland, Huffington Post, Financial Times, Lufthansa, The Telegraph UK, Japan Times, Bloomberg, BBC, Human Rights Watch, Mercedes Benz, IFC, UNHCR, WFP, UN/OCHA, Oxfam, Catalyst for Peace, Canon Europe, Big Dutchman Germany, International Rescue Committee, Mercy corps. In 2018, he was invited to facilitate a storytelling photography workshop at Contact Photography Festival in Toronto and give a talk about his work at the Bronx Documentary Centre in New York. He is a member and contributor to the photography collective Everyday Africa.

Portrait of Wafaa Samir

Wafaa Samir

Wafaa Samir (b.1990) is a photographer and visual artist who lives and works in Cairo. Her work explores two main tracks; our relationships with urbanism and physical spaces, and a figurative representation of emotions and states of mind. She alternates her attention between these outer and inner worlds, approaching each very differently.

Samir earned her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Cairo in 2013. In parallel she nurtured her interest in photography and actively showcased in many group exhibitions In Cairo, Germany, Belgium, France and Dubai.

Portrait of Steven Chikosi

Steven Chikosi

Steven Chikosi is a documentary photographer and Filmmaker from Zimbabwe. Steven is on a mission to tell stories of the daily life of Africans.

Gallery

More Than A Number Installation