Meeting at the Volta: Sanlé Sory / Kyle Weeks

Meeting at the Volta: Sanlé Sory / Kyle Weeks

Meeting at the Volta is a celebration of two generations of remarkable African photographers, Sanlé Sory (b. 1943, Burkina Faso) and Kyle Weeks (b. 1992, Namibia). The title refers to the Volta River that runs through both Burkina Faso and Ghana, where Weeks works, connecting the countries. 

Though representative of cultures decades apart, Sory and Weeks find common ground in capturing the energy and urgency of West African youth. Exhibited side by side, viewers can see not only the evolution in style and setting, but the development of photography as a medium. Sory’s monochrome analogue shots, often set against painted backdrops, are juxtaposed with Weeks’ vivid and stylised work, often showcasing aesthetic fragments of Accra’s city streets.

Sanlé Sory opened his photographic studio in 1960, the year that Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso, gained independence from France. His unique archive documents the vibrant youth culture of Bobo-Dioulasso,  his hometown, in the decades that followed. 

Since David Hill Gallery was the first to show Sanlé Sory’s work in 2017, he has become globally revered. His photographs are now held in the permanent collections of many museums, including the V&A, MoMA, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and the North Carolina Museum of Art.

In contrast, Kyle Weeks navigates a new generation of photography and social observation. Capturing his subjects on the streets of Accra, Ghana, Weeks fascination with the unique creative perspective of Ghana’s youth is clear. His 2023 photobook Good News catalogues six years of photographs made during frequent visits to Ghana’s capital. Through this work, Weeks aims to shed light on the inherent goodness, enthusiasm, and hope that permeates West Africa, as well as the young visionaries who are spearheading art, fashion, and music in Accra today. 

Weeks was the recipient of the 2016 Magnum Prize and was named amongst The British Journal of Photography’s Ones to Watch in 2019. He has also exhibited at art fairs such as 1- 54 and Photo London, and his images have appeared in publications including i-D, Dazed, M le Monde, The Financial Times, and Self Service. 

Meeting at the Volta is produced in conjunction with Galerie Gomis, Brussels, which is currently showing Sanlé Sory x Kyle Weeks: Intersections of Africa Youth.