Samuel Fosso was forced to leave Nigeria at the end of the Biafra war, where he lost most of his family, in 1972. He then moved to Bangui where he was able to take refuge with one of his uncles.
He started to take photographs at the age of 13, opening his own studio for passport, portrait and wedding photographs. At the same time he experimented with self portraiture, using different costumes, poses and backdrops. The resulting portraits are a witness to his growing up, becoming a personal history.
The excerpt of unique works exhibited at 1:54 2017, entitled HUMAN ( Work In Progress), are part of Fosso’s latest body of work, the series SIXSIXSIX, consisting of 666 large format Polaroid self-portraits produced in an intensive process between 2015-2016. Each work is intended to reflect Fosso’s particular mood at that moment. SIXSIXSIX was the focus of a major display of Fosso’s photographs, together with earlier black and white self portraits, at the National Portrait Gallery, London, 2017.
Samuel Fosso’s work was brought to a wider audience at the first edition of the Rencontres de la Photographie Africaine in Bamako, Mali in 1994. Since then he has exhibited widely including at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre National de la Photographie, Paris; the Guggenheim Museum, New
York and Tate Modern, London. His work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate, London; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Los Angeles County Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Musée du Quai Branly/Jacques Chirac, Paris; Sindika Dokolo Collection (most of his works), Luanda, Angola; Artur Walther Collection, N.Y. and Ulm, Germany, among others.