About Témoin

This blog is a documentary of the planning and of the progress of the show Témoin which is launching at the Bamako Biennale November 2011 and is set to travel the African Continent in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The line up includes:

Johannesburg and Cape Town South Africa April – September 2012

Maputo Mozambique 12 November  – 13 February 2012

Abidjan Ivory Coast 04 March – 08 April 2013

Addis Abeba Ethiopia 29 April – 03 June 2013

Douala Center for Contemporary Art Doual’art Cameroon 24 June – 29 July 2013

Kampala Uganda 19 August – 23 September 2013

Lagos Nigeria 14 October – 18 November 2013

Nairobi Kenya 09 December – 13 January 2014

Accra Ghana 03 February – 11-March 2014

Sammy Baloji and Monique Pelser were asked by the Goethe Institut South Africa to co-curate a show showcasing the work of six prominent African photographers.

Témoin, translated as Witness, is an exhibition representing how this group of emerging African photographers perform the role of active onlooker. Each participant’s work is evidence of a process of critically surveying their immediate environments. The presented works then, by extension, become historical records reflecting the constantly shifting history, inherited cultures and social issues that span the African continent.

The project, initiated by the Goethe-Institut South Africa and Simon Njami, was held in Maputo 2008, Bamako 2009 and Addis Ababa 2010.

For the portfolio reviews photographers met on a one on one basis with curators such as Bisi Silva from CCA Lagos, Mark Sealy from Autograph London, Chris Dercon from Tate Modern, Felix Hoffmann from CO Berlin, Collette Olaf from Foam, Kwezi Gule then from Johannesburg Art Gallery, John Fleetwood from Market Photo Workshop and other independent curators such as Simon Njami and Akinbode Akinbiyi. The aim was for photographers to present their work to the curators and to gain critical feedback which was aimed at elevating the practice of each participant.


Our modus operandi is to promote critical photography that is being made on the African continent, to start a conversation and to support local industry.