Meeting at the Volta
Sanlé Sory / Kyle Weeks
David Hill Gallery, London
29 September – 25 November 2023
Private View 28 September 6-9pm
Meeting at the Volta is a celebration of two generations of remarkable African photographers, Sanlé Sory (b. 1943, Burkina Faso) and Kyle Weeks (b. 1992, Namibia). The title refers to the Volta River that runs through both Burkina Faso and Ghana, where Weeks works, connecting the countries.
Though representative of cultures decades apart, Sory and Weeks find common ground in capturing the energy and urgency of West African youth. Exhibited side by side, viewers can see not only the evolution in style and setting, but the development of photography as a medium. Sory’s monochrome analogue shots, often set against painted backdrops, are juxtaposed with Weeks’ vivid and stylised work, often showcasing aesthetic fragments of Accra’s city streets.
Sanlé Sory opened his photographic studio in 1960, the year that Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso, gained independence from France. His unique archive documents the vibrant youth culture of Bobo-Dioulasso, his hometown, in the decades that followed.
Since David Hill Gallery was the first to show Sanlé Sory’s work in 2017, he has become globally revered. His photographs are now held in the permanent collections of many museums, including the V&A, MoMA, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and the North Carolina Museum of Art.
‘These people are metropolitan, worldly, and cool, and they vibrate with excitement for a new future.’ The New Yorker
In contrast, Kyle Weeks navigates a new generation of photography and social observation. Capturing his subjects on the streets of Accra, Ghana, Weeks fascination with the unique creative perspective of Ghana’s youth is clear. His 2023 photobook Good News catalogues six years of photographs made during frequent visits to Ghana’s capital. Through this work, Weeks aims to shed light on the inherent goodness, enthusiasm, and hope that permeates West Africa, as well as the young visionaries who are spearheading art, fashion, and music in Accra today.
Weeks was the recipient of the 2016 Magnum Prize and was named amongst The British Journal of Photography’s Ones to Watch in 2019. He has also exhibited at art fairs such as 1- 54 and Photo London, and his images have appeared in publications including i-D, Dazed, M le Monde, The Financial Times, and Self Service.
Meeting at the Volta is produced in conjunction with Galerie Gomis, Brussels, which is currently showing Sanlé Sory x Kyle Weeks: Intersections of Africa Youth.
"I am excited to work with Kyle Weeks–one of the most striking and individual African image-makers today–and Galerie Gomis, the leading European supporter of contemporary African photography. Presenting Kyle’s work alongside that of Sanlé Sory’s, provides the viewer an opportunity to see both the similarities and differences in their styles. Shot decades apart, from post-independence Bobo-Dioulasso to 21st century Accra, the exhibition clearly illustrates the rich creative vision that flows so strongly through the Voltaic region." - David Hill, David Hill Gallery, London
“I was immediately struck by the effortless mastery of Sanlé's photographic vision. His portraits exuded profound empathy and optimism that have left an indelible mark on my artistic sensibilities.” Kyle Weeks on Sanlé Sory
“Sory and Weeks have captured the energy and positivity of being young. That feeling of strength, optimism, and happiness. That feeling of the future, of what’s next. I think we are bombarded with negative imagery that saturates the craziness that exists in our world, but there’s a lot of joy in it. It’s always been there, and you feel it with both these artists.” - Marie Gomis-Trezise, Dazed
Meeting at the Volta will showcase a curated selection of Sory’s work from the 1960s to the 1980s alongside portraits from Weeks’ on-going document of Accra’s youth. The exhibition will be on view from 29 September at David Hill Gallery in Ladbroke Grove.
DAVID HILL GALLERY shows established and lesser-known photographers, with an emphasis on previously unshown work. Exhibitions include the first solo show outside of West Africa of Sanlé Sory’s vibrant portraiture. Mario Carnicelli’s sharply observed mid-1960s American street photography also debuted at the gallery, along with Baldwin Lee’s extraordinary work documenting the southern American state in the mid to late 1980s. Previous shows include Burt Glinn's coverage of the Cuban Revolution, Bill Bernstein’s Disco work, and Rachidi Bissiriou’s sensitive monochrome portraiture from, Kétou, Benin
345 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 6HA