Samuel Fosso

Born in Cameroon in 1962, Samuel Fosso lived in Nigeria as a small child but was forced to leave at the end of the Biafran war in 1972, moving to Bangui, in the Central African Republic where he lives and works. He started to take photographs at the age of 13, opening his own studio for passport, portrait and wedding photographs; the self-portraits were taken simply to use up spare film. By trying different costumes, poses and backdrops it became a way of Fosso seeing himself grow up: slowly becoming a personal history.

After gaining recognition from his 70's self-portrait series, Fosso continued to perform for the camera with his Tati series in 1997: his work explored more satirical and political realms through the various characters portrayed, both male and female. The African Spirits series made in 2008 pays tribute to prominent historical of African descent figures such as Malcolm X or Muhammed Ali. Such photographs engage with the public imagination and the role of portrait as object of worship.

Fosso's work was first brought to a wider audience at the Rencontres de la Photographie Africaine in Mali in 1994 and won the Afrique en Créations prize a year later. In 2018 he was awarded the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography. Samuel Fosso has exhibited in major global venues such as the Centre National de la Photographie, Paris; Tate Modern and National Portrait Gallery, London; Guggenheim Museum and Musuem of Modern Art New York and the Getty Center. He was included in the acclaimed Africa Remix exhibition which toured worldwide (including Hayward Gallery, London) 2004 - 2007, the 26th Sao Paolo Biennale and Performing for the Camera, Tate Modern. His work is in held in many museum collections, including Musuem of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Los Angeles County Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris and Tate Modern.