African Photography: Photomontage, Part 3

African Photography: Photomontage, Part 3

Posted in Photography

Today, photomontage is popular among young African artists who are proficient with the digital creation of images. They are pushing the boundaries of digital image editing to produce time-intensive compositions that rival the demands of the traditional arts. Their images often combine painting, illustration, graphics, and typography in a seamless photographic artwork, which become a powerful tool to tell a story or report sociopolitical issues.

Delio Jasse

Delio Jasse was born in 1980 in Luanda, Angola. He moved to Lisbon, Portugal in 1998 and developed an interest for photography while working in the printing shop of his uncle in 2003. Jasse developed his own printing technique and experimented with analogue photographic processes to create subtle variants using painting, gold leafing, liquid-light, and collage. His work explores themes of memory and identity within a context that is postcolonial by default. Jasse draws links between photography, memory, and place by interweaving found images with clues from past lives to explore what he calls “latent imagery.” In this new context, previously unseen elements in the images are revealed. Although he works with photographs, Jasse claims that his artwork is not purely photographic; rather, photography serves as a point of departure—whether through analog printing methods or layered, superimposed images—to alter spatial construction. In the series Pontus (2012), he juxtaposes images and highlights different scenes to attract the viewer’s attention, emphasizing the evolution and cultural convergences of postcolonial Angola.

Pontus by Delio Jasse

Sammy Baloji

Sammy Baloji was born in 1978 in Lubumbashi, DR Congo. Upon graduating in literature and human science at the University of Lubumbashi, he started to work as a cartoonist. He later turned to video art and photography, specializing in ethnography, architecture, and urbanism. With his imagery, Baloji explores architecture and the human body as traces of social history, sites of memory, and witnesses to operations of power. History of art and documentary photography blend with that of colonialism. His series of photomontages, of revisited albums confront his historical research with the human and economic actuality such as the new invasions of these territories by companies from China. In his series Mémoire (2006), Baloji explores the past and present-day realities of the copper mining industry in the Katanga region to reflect on the meaning of memory. He overlays archival images of European officials and Congolese labourers who built the mine’s once imposing industrial sites onto contemporary photographs that highlight their current state of decline and ruin. All of his juxtapositions are highly charged with meaning, but forces the viewer to question past, present and future of Congo, and of Africa in general.

Untitled by Sammy Baloji

Kiripi Katembo

Kiripi Katembo was born in 1979 in Goma, DR Congo. He studied at the Fine Arts Academy of Kinshasa, and began his career as a painter before working as a photographer and filmmaker. This transition becomes all the more apparent in his portrayal of the daily life of the people of Kinshasa, as well as the political and social changes of the country. In his series Un Regard (2009), Katembo captures the routines and vicissitudes of the residents through their reflections in puddles of water found on the streets. This technique gives the series a painterly effect as if rendered from the hand of an impressionist. The result is both moving and challenging as the eye attempts to focus on the atypical compositions. The series was exhibited locally and in different places around Europe. In 2008, Katembo produced his first experimental film using a mobile phone. The result was a digital short movie entitled Cardboard Car, which explores the everyday life of the citizens. Filming with a mobile phone was essential to be closer to the street, avoiding the ban on filming of the Congolese government. Kiripi Katembo died from cerebral malaria in Kinshasa in 2015.

Become by Kiripi Katembo

Ibrahima Thiam

Ibrahima Thiam was born in 1976 in Saint-Louis, Senegal. After completing his studies in Economics at Dakar, he turned his interest to visual arts upon attending a workshop in photography organized by the Goethe-Institut in 2009. Through self-study and practice, Thiam reflects on memory, documentary process, and traditional stories. He has collected multiple images over the years, some of which came from his family archives or bought from acquaintances. He learned about painting before photography and art history through his encounters with other visual artists. He often combines both disciplines to give more depth to his photographic compositions. He also considers camera as painting tool, exploring the idea of painting pictures using the optical device. In his series Reflections (2014), Thiam depicted the reality of the urban flooding without invading residents’ lives through their reflections on the water. He painted distorted forms with light in order to show the reality of people fighting the flood. Indeed, the reflections returned to their natural orientation once they were captured, giving the viewer a better sense of reality.

Reflections by Ibrahima Thiam


Posted in Photography  |  January 21, 2023