EverYoung: James Barnor Photographic Exhibition:
Rivington Place London EC2A 3BA
17 September – 27 November 2010
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I feel honoured that Mr. Barnor considers me such a good friend that he has allowed me to say a few words at this long awaited formal exhibition of his lifetime works.
I know that he has been on a journey of creativity and this exhibition boldly attests to that; I also know that the journey has been long as you can tell by his 81 years though filled with many happy memories and achievements. He tells me that he has been influenced by several people none as much as his old school master at Bishop Boys school, Mr AQ Acheampong. The journey had taken him from his apprenticeship with Mr Dodoo, his setting up of Everyoung Studios in Jamestown, British Accra, His work with Daily Graphic and Drum Magazine, his studies at Medway College in Kent, his establishment of Agfa Gaveart’s first colour studio in Ghana, his work with the United States Information Services and the Castle the seat of government in Ghana.
I feel proud that though I have not been actively associated with the creative and composition aspects of the adventure, I together with others such as Audrey Quaye, have had the opportunity to play a supportive role in getting these pictures exposed to the whole world.
Over the past twelve or so years that I have been associated with Mr Barnor, initially through his attendance of a durbar I helped organise when I was the chairperson of Ghana Union London, I have tried to encourage him along the way to fulfil the immediate and urgent dream of an exhibition.
I enlisted the support of a relative and colleague, Mr Allotey Bruce Konuah, who helped to scan and digitise some of the negatives at our offices at Equinox Consulting; which was then in Brixton. It was exciting for me to be confronted with my past in pictures. As we went through the negatives, we found priceless gems of photographs at Independence; my late parents being presented to the Duchess of Kent and my late sister presenting her with a bouquet of flowers.
Through the hard work of Allotey Mr Barnor met Nana Kuffour who then introduced him to Black Cultural Archives and there they met another Nana Ofori Atta Ayim who brought him to Autograph.
So I am proud that though we have tried several exhibitions of sorts on his 75th and 80th birthdays, we have now finally arrived at Autograph and we now have a real exhibition of his works.
Let me thank Autograph for pampering him along the journey and for making this happen; for this dream to come alive for this ever young man.
Let me extend a warm welcome to those who are here at this exhibition, for attending and supporting him along the way. I hope that you have a memorable experience in viewing the photographs.
To Mr Barnor, all I have to say is that I know that this is but a small selection of your photographs, and I have an original one with the Everyoung stamp at the back as proof of where it was taken, I cherish it and I am proud that I have known you .
I believe that Autograph have chosen well. I hope that the selection will lend itself to a coffee table book to preserve your work and leave a heritage that will inspire and motivate all the young photographers who come after you
I have spoken too much already on this day of yours, so let me commend these pictures to all and I hope that others who attend this exhibition will attest to this as one of the most exquisite events in the black cultural calendar.
Ladies and gentleman thank you for listening and I have the honour of presenting you to the EverYoung Mr James Nii Aflah Barnor
16th September 2010