By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
Noted for his diverse work with identity and familiarity of the Caribbean, Martinican photographer Robert Charlotte continues his research with another body of work following a month long residency in Ghana as part of the Nuku Photo Festival.
Indeed, his work in Accra, which forms part of the framework of a project dubbed “Transatlantic Artistic Dialogues: Caribbean West Africa” is currently on display in the gardens of the Alliance Française in Accra.
Supported by Alliance Française Accra, Institut Français Ghana, Fondation Clément and the Embassy of France in Ghana, the project is meant to stimulate the creation of new works by crossing ideas, languages, aesthetics and African – Caribbean territories through cross-residencies, while encouraging transnational artistic and cultural exchanges.
Titled “Correspondence”, the portraits, which comprise male and female Ghanaians in diverse inexpressive postures, were shot in one of the post offices in Accra with its ubiquitous red boxes and printed white numbers as common backgrounds.
With a meticulous look at behaviours, attitudes and expressions, Charlotte makes each pose become a frontal encounter where faces take on a strange charisma – indeed one of mystery while blurring the faces of other subjects.
He photographs parts of the human body including legs and feet that appear overworked, tired and quite unkempt thereby commenting on the plight of the working class, whose situation continue to regress owing to mismanagement and challenges facing the economy.
The post boxes recollect the once postal giant that served Ghanaians locally and internationally during the days when Internet and smart phones were still on the drawing board. It has become a pale showdown of itself mostly delivering parcels in recent years.
Born in 1966 in Martinique where he grew up and currently resides, Charlotte studies at the Paris School of Photography from 1986 to 1989 and later stayed on to work in a studio of industrial photography where he delved into reporting, illustration and team control among others.
The exhibition ends on Sunday October 14.