Picadilly Circus 1–30 Apr 2021 Free

A new series of films celebrating the work and legacy of British-Ghanaian photographer James Barnor will be presented by Serpentine in collaboration with CIRCA on the Piccadilly Lights screen every evening throughout April at 20:21.

The presentation of James Barnor’s work on the Piccadilly Lights screen completes a journey that began more than half a century ago, when Barnor photographed BBC Africa Service presenter Mike Eghan against the backdrop of Piccadilly’s neon signs in 1967. That electrifying image was the inspiration behind Ferdinando Verderi’s Vogue Italia cover, with Barnor remote-shooting model Adwoa Aboah standing in the exact same location to create a present reflection on the past. This is the first partnership between CIRCA and a major gallery to find new collaborative ways of presenting world-leading artists in the public realm. Serpentine will host a major survey of Barnor’s work James Barnor: Accra/London – A Retrospective from 19 May (dates subject to government guidelines). Focusing on the period 1950-1980, the exhibition selects from more than 40,000 available images, all distinguished by Barnor’s unmistakable eye and indelible connection to his sitters.

Barnor’s Past, Present, Future will be broadcast in three films, each showing for 10 days, throughout April:

  • Past (1-10 April) A visual journey through Barnor’s photographs taken in London throughout the 1960s, directed by Ferdinando Verderi, Creative Director of Vogue Italia, from Black models such as Erlin Ibreck and Marie Hallowi, to street observations of Pearly Kings and Covent Garden market traders, culminating with the making of a present day Vogue Italia cover.
  • Present (11-20 April) London-based creative director Olu Michael Odukoya will revisit and reinvent the archive of James Barnor exploring three themes that have synergies jointly across Barnor’s and Odukoya’s work using sound performance, video, animation and graphics.
  • Future (21-30 April) A spotlight on five emerging photographers from Africa and the diaspora: David Nana Opoku Ansah, Silvia Rosi, Thabiso Sekgala, Adama Jalloh and Lebohang Kganye, curated by Culture Art Society (CAS) to reflect on their shared trajectories to Barnor’s archive, and supported with funds raised by the #CIRCAECONOMY.


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