The works presented in MULTIPLE GAZES OF A COUNTRY’S PHOTOGRAPHED PAST are based on the photo material kept in the Press Photo Archives Buea, Cameroon, and emerge from an online call to use historical photographs as a starting point for artistic interventions. 27 artists from 17 countries have ac- cepted the invitation and submitted their artistic reinterpretations and explo- ration of a small sample of photographs from the Archives. The results of their dealing with historical material, the confrontation of document and art work, the merger of past and present, reveal the great, at times disturbing potential of artistic engagements with archive material.
For two years, between 2013 and 2015, African Photography Initiatives has been working in the Press Photo Archives Buea, Cameroon, a state-owned institution under the authority of the Ministry of Communication. Over 25’000 negatives were digitized as well as 14’000 contact sheets, each containing bet- ween 12 and 16 contact prints. The digital conservation of the archive material was supplemented by physical conservation and protection measures.
The overall objective of the archive project was to provide sustainable access to the images for people of all kind and interests: historians, amateurs and professionals, anthropologists, art historians, and not least, artists, so that they can work with the photo material and use it for their respective purposes. Deeply convinced that only archives that are used and present in the public conscience will survive African Photography Initiatives will continue to promo- te a critical, academic and non-academic engagement with the Press Photo Archives’ material.
Thanks to Adalberto Abbate, Amalia Ramanankirahina, Anne Gregory, Caecilia Tripp, Carolle Benitah, Cecile Hummel, Diogo Bento, Dunja Herzog, Elsa M’bala, Érika Nimis, Fabien Lapouge, Frida Robles, Gisle Frøysland, Gregorio Mendez, Hillie de Rooij, Justine Gaga, Maite Cajaraville, Mustafa Saeed, Pascale Obolo, Raquel Bravo, Ray Piwi, Rosario Mazuela, Spring Ulmer, Thaís Medina, Vincent Bezuidenhout, Xavier Aguirre, Zara Julius et Rafael José Berganza.
Music: "Afrique" Duke Ellington