Curator: Ange-Frédéric Koffi
Guest artist: Ilyes Messaoudi
At the age of 30 in 1964, on his return from Europe, the prospect of having to archive and document his present intensified, as Adama Sylla became aware of the turning point that was taking place around him. Because "documentation is the memory of a country, because today's daily life is tomorrow's history", he set about capturing these moments. Over a period of more than 50 years, he acquired and built up a collection of images that together crystallize the energy of this profoundly changing society. Today, traditional motifs recurrently appear in the dean's work, reflecting the identity of the Senegalese people and raising the question of the contemporaneity of his Africa.
Sylla's work is part of this visual "mechanicism of testimony" to societal evolution. It doesn't offer a definite answer, because although it doesn't seek to be didactic, it does give those interested the opportunity to complete a fragmentary knowledge of photography in Africa. For yes, Sylla is one of those important figures in the history of African photography. He contributes to the understanding of the continent and highlights the sophistication of Senegalese culture. Adama Sylla's archival work is attentive to the bodies, gazes, lines and details that make up his images. He captures the personal stories that surround him.
Through relentless practice, he develops his own style and, above all, reveals the universal truths and forms that unite us. He goes beyond technique and focuses on the act of capturing a collection of moments.
The photographs will be presented to the public for the first time in Paris, after having been shown in Saint-Louis du Sénégal in 2017 and in 2019 at the Institut français, in Dakar in 2020 at the Musée de la Femme Henriette-Bathily and in Lyon in 2021 at the Regard Sud gallery.