Emperor of Africa: Self Portraits by Legend Samuel Fosso

Emperor of Africa: Self Portraits by Legend Samuel Fosso

Samuel Fosso (b. 1962) is considered as one of Africa’s prolific photographer amongst other photographers such as Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keïta. Fosso is known as “the man of a thousand faces” because of his decades of work as a self-portrait artist. Since the 1970’s his work includes performative work where he transforms into various characters.

The Emperor of Africa is a project he did in 2013 where he explored the relationship between Africa and China depicting iconic portraits of Mao Zedong.

As in all my works, I am both character and director. I don’t put myself in the photographs: my work is based on specific situations and people I am familiar with, things I desire, rework in my imagination and afterward, I interpret. I borrow an identity. In order top succeed I immerse myself in the necessary physical and mental state. It’s a way of freeing me from myself. A solitary path. I am a solitary man.”


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