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.”