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Basel University Library
The exhibition Images of Current Affairs. Press Photography and Archives in Africa is based on the "Press Photo Archives Buea, Cameroon. Long-Term Protection, Preservation and Access” project, which was carried out between 2013 and 2015 by African Photography Initiatives. It shows the importance of preserving Africa’s press photo archives and highlights important developments and changes that have shaped press photography in Africa. If Africa’s visual heritage falls into oblivion and is no longer put to use, there could be the risk that these press photo archives will literally disappear.
The exhibition takes visitors on a historic walk and focuses on the content, function, use and organisation of government-owned press photographs, and, in particular, the Buea Press Photo Archives, Cameroon. On display are also press photos from South Africa (Afrapix and Independent Newspaper Archives) that - due to the anti-apartheid movement - have developed quite a specific dynamic. As we want to highlight how relevant press photography is in Africa today, we also show photographs of the winners of the Uganda Press Photo Award of the last five years. Works from the project "Reinterpreting Historical Photographs", which was also initiated by African Photography Initiatives, are also part of the exhibition showing the various ways of current artistic explorations of historic photographs.
Jürg Schneider, PhD, Co-founder of African Photography Initiatives and affiliated researcher at the Centre for African Studies at the University of Basel, Switzerland