Samuel Fosso

(b. 1962)

Quick Reference

(1962?– )

African photographer, born in Cameroon. Originally an Ibo from eastern Nigeria, he left for the Central African Republic to escape the Biafran War. He set up a photographic studio in Bangui making passport and wedding photographs and, by night, worked on increasingly extravagant self-portraits. In 1994 these were noticed by the French photographer Bernard Descamps. The interest in his work led to a trip to Paris and worldwide exhibition. In a series of colour photographs he presented himself as a transvestite, a pimp, and most famously as The Chief, the One who Sold Africa to the Colonialists showing him with his eyes concealed by fashionable slit sunglasses and holding a bouquet of sunflowers. This image became celebrated when used to publicize the international touring exhibition ‘Africa Remix’ in 2005. He continues to work in Bangui at his photography business.

Further Reading

J. Taylor, ‘Here's looking at me’, The Guardian (27 June 2002)

Subjects: Art.

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