To take up Paul Kodjo’s work is to reconnect with the cultural and political history of Côte d’Ivoire, from the early post-independence period through the 1990s.
Paul Kodjo began his photographic career in the early 1960s. He worked as a press photographer and was active in the art world, mostly cinema. In the 90s, the artist met with hardships that had a destructive impact not only on his life but on his negative archives.
In 2008, Paul Kodjo entrusted his entire collection of negatives — which, unfortunately, were damaged by humidity because they had not been well preserved — to the photographer Ananias Léki Dago. This emergency situation sparked a research project on Paul Kodjo’s photographic career and work, with a view to doing vitally necessary preservation and conservation in his archives.
Within the framework of this research, which he is leading with the support of the Goethe-Institut, Ananias Léki Dago will meet with the photographer, the luminary Paul Kodjo, for a public conversation about his work. The event will give us a striking image of intergenerational exchange between two photographers. It will also be a rare opportunity to unfold, in greater detail, the larger and ongoing project focused on Paul Kodjo’s work.
Franco-Canadian scholar and author Erika Nimis will join this conversation. Nimis, studied photography at the Arles School of Photography [École de photographie d’Arles], and , today, teaches, as associate lecturer of art history, at the University of Quebec at Montréal (UQAM). She has published many texts on photography and photography history in West Africa.
Amongst the questions that will be discussed: what makes Paul Kodjo’s case so interesting? Why is the photographic memory represented by Paul Kodjo’s photographs relevant to Côte d’Ivoire or, better, to all of West Africa? Why is the act of preserving and conserving the archives of this Ivorian photographer so symbolically significant?
24th of February at Abidjan Goethe-Institut. 7pm