Alfred Weidinger search for the last surviving monarchs of Africa’s grandest kingdoms, from Nigeria to Ghana, Zambia to Cameroon — and from the Ivory Coast to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Even today there are close to 200 tribal kings in Africa, vestiges of a former age – their ancient traditions preserved, their wisdom and power still honored. Alfred Weidinger´s project features the king´s whose dynasties have had the most impact on African history. Dressed in their finest clothes and in full regalia, in honor of the occasion, these last survivors of Africa’s great kingdoms are a living paradox. Few of them live modestly — and most enjoy a life of finery and fame.

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The composition of the photos will be based primarily on photographs of various African chieftains, tribal elders and king´s taken in the late 19th century and early 20th. These were produced by studios and ateliers that sprung up in parts of Africa; the pictures were disseminated as postcards and collectibles across the continent and to the rest of the world. After all, the introduction of photography came alongside the advent of direct European colonial rule through much of Africa. There was a craze to catalog and document the continent’s alien, subject peoples. There was also, in particular, an obsession with African nobility. The postcard and vintage photographs still show leaders in all their pomp and majesty, but they inevitably bear the weight of Africa’s subjugation by foreign powers. Today, the rulers are autonomous and self-confident. they are committed to the old traditions of their people as well as to contemporary. Alfred Weidinger want´s to portray (in black and white) the splendor and vitality of these legendary leaders — whose legacy lives on — despite changing times

 

Full Project