The Sankofa Series: Ghanaian Reflections on African/American Identities.
Ghanian-American photographers Stanley Lumax and Larry Ossei-Mensah present reflections of their African/American Identities with New Photography Exhibition: The Sankofa Series.
Firstly, I should introduce you these very talented artists:
Stanley began shooting as a child with a 110 film camera. His undergrad professor of Temple University, Dr.Trayes added to his then budding passion. Stanley was hired by basketball company AND1 to travel the country shooting games for two years. As luck would have it, he ended up as an account executive at advertising firm Wieden + Kennedy, working on Nike, Stanley got his first major opportunity to share his work on a larger scale. He was asked to shoot 80% percent of a basketball campaign that featured outdoor billboards, subway advertising, phone booth kiosks digital and newspaper ads. He has been the sole photographer for “The City is Watching” campaign for the last three years.
Larry is a recent graduate of Les Roches School of Hotel Management, Bluche, Switzerland with an MBA, explains The Sankofa Series as such, *This show is primarily about self reflection. The desire to understand who we are as Africans seeking to identify and truly understand our self and our culture.” Larry’s approach to this investigation was mostly stateside. His camera takes an exploratory journey in Harlem, USA , a community he describes as a bastion of hope for Africans seeking a better life. The lens of “Young Global: America the African Dream” is what Larry has titled the body of work to be included in the Sankofa Series. Born and raised in the Bronx, Larry has established himself in the advertising and marketing world, holding positions stateside and abroad, most currently as a marketing consultant for an upscale interior design firm. Larry’s music photography series has been used by Blue Note. His Young Global blog as followers in the thousands and is highlighted on a regular basis by national media outlets.
Together these artists joined forces to give us The Sankofa Series produced separately on two continents, Stanley’s images were produced during a series of visits to Ghana in 2007 and 2008. After 24 years of self-imposed exile, Stanley returned to Ghana in 2007 after being inspired by images from a South African photography exhibition. Stanley credits this moment for his reconnecting to Ghana, which has added to his definition of identify and manhood and has clarified his responsibilities. “Becoming a man was about more than finishing school, starting a family and having a secure job.” explains Stanley, who was born in Plainfield, New Jersey to Ghanaian immigrants. “It was about acknowledging my heritage and realizing the need to sustain my family’s legacy.” Most of Stanley’s work was shot in Cape Coast, Accra and the Volta Region city of Keta of Ghana.
Sankofa means to return back to the past; capture what is good and incorporate it into the present. Stanley and Larry being of Ghanaian heritage decided to hone into this particular philosophical method of expression because is relates to their heritage as well as it speaks to the desire to deeply understand their African-American identity.
You may view pictures of the exhibition that took place at Harriet’s Alter Ego in partnership with Up South INC. on the 30th of March, 2008. HERE. and the exhibition still goes on at Harriets Alter Ego till the 26th of April!
Both photographers have been influenced by master photographer Gordon Parks.