Samuel Fosso’s Self-Portraits Capture the Complexity of Black Identity

Dec. 12, 2022

A new exhibition in New Jersey of Samuel Fosso’s subversive self-portraiture mixes history, politics, religion, and culture – all while examining complexly layered aspects of Black identity.

Invented nearly two centuries ago, photography has been used as a tool for both liberation and subjugation of the Global South. As Europeans colonised Africa, they used the camera to objectify, exoticise, and “other” indigenous people in order to justify their conquest and exploitation of ancient lands. With the African Independence Movement of the 21st century, local photography studios reclaimed the power of self-expression through portraiture.