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100 Years Of Portrait Photography In West Africa At The Met

A new exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC highlights 100 years of portrait photography in West Africa.

All images courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art


A century's worth of West Africa's deeply rooted photographic culture will be on full display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from August 31 through January 3.

In and Out of the Studio: Photographic Portraits from West Africa includes nearly 80 portrait photographs taken by amateurs and professionals between the 1870s and the 1970s. To showcase the broad variety of the region's photography practices and aesthetics, the exhibition will juxtapose photographs, postcards, real photo postcards and original negatives.

Visitors can expect to view the works of renowned practitioners such as Seydou Keïta of Mali, J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere of Nigeria, and Samuel Fosso of Cameroon, and lesser-known artists who worked at the beginning of the century, including George A. G. Lutterodt of Ghana, the Lisk-Carew Brothers of Sierra Leone, and Alex A. Acolatse of Togo.

"These photographers explored the possibilities of their medium developing a rich aesthetic vocabulary through revealing self-portraits, staged images against painted backdrops or open landscapes, and casual snapshots of leisurely times," reads a Met press release. "Regardless of their unique place in the history of photography in West Africa—from the formality of the earlier studio poses to the theatricality of Fosso’s fantasies—the sitter’s self-assured and unabashed presence fully engages the viewer."

In and Out of the Studio: Photographic Portraits from West Africa is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC from August 31 through January 3.

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9 Must-Hear Songs From Ghana's Buzzing Drill Scene

We give you the rundown on Ghana's drill movement, Asakaa, and the most popular songs birthed by it.

Red bandanas, streetwear, security dogs, and gang signs. If you've been paying any attention to the music scene in Ghana over the past few months, then by now you would have noticed the rise of a special hip-hop movement. The movement is called Asakaa, and it's the Ghanaian take on the Chicago-born subgenre of hip-hop called drill music. It's fresh, it's hot, it's invigorating and it's nothing like anything you've seen before from this part of the world.

The pioneers of Asakaa are fondly referred to by the genre's patrons as the Kumerica boys, a set of budding young rappers based in the city of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. They came into the limelight towards the end of 2020, and have been dropping banger after banger since then, topping several charts and racking up millions of views collectively. The rap is charismatic, the visuals are captivating, and their swag is urban. Characterized by Twi lyrics, infectious hooks, and sinister beats, the allure and appeal of both their art and their culture is overflowing.

"Sore," one of the benchmark songs of the movement, is a monster hit that exploded into the limelight, earning Kumerican rapper Yaw Tog a feature on Billboard Italy and a recent remix that featured Stormzy. "Ekorso" by Kofi Jamar is the song that took over Ghana's December 2020, with the video currently sitting at 1.3 million views on YouTube. "Off White Flow" is the song that earned rapper Kwaku DMC and his peers a feature on Virgil Abloh's Apple Music show Televised Radio. These are just a few examples of the numerous accolades that the songs birthed from the Asakaa movement have earned. Ghana's drill scene is the new cool, but it isn't just a trend. It's an entire movement, and it's here to stay.

Want to get familiar? Here we highlight the most prominent songs of the Asakaa movement that you need to know. Here's our rundown of Ghana's drill songs that are making waves right now. Check them out below.

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