Yossi Milo Gallery
Sanlé Sory
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Yossi Milo Gallery Announces Representation of Sanlé Sory

Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to announce representation of West African photographer Sanlé Sory (Burkinabe, b. 1943). Portraits by Sory were included in the Gallery’s presentation at the Grand Palais for Paris Photo 2017. In Spring 2018, the Gallery will present the artist’s premiere exhibition in New York City, featuring a selection of portraits from Sory’s studio in Burkina Faso from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Sanlé Sory’s portraits are key documents of the restless and revisionary energy that animated the youth culture of Burkina Faso in the first decades of the small West African nation’s independence from France. Sory began his photographic practice in 1960, the same year that his country (then called République de Haute-Volta) transitioned from being a remote colony into a post-colonial nation. After learning how to use a twin-lens Rolleiflex 6x6 camera and process prints, the artist worked as a reporter, a record sleeve illustrator and, most notably, as the city of Bobo-Dioulasso’s finest studio photographer.

In his Studio Volta, Sory’s self-made backdrops feature painted generic scenes taken from modern life, such as a cityscape at night, a leisurely beachside boardwalk, an expansive airplane tarmac and classical, vintage columns. Posed in front of his camera, in the artist’s view, people from all walks of life, from “religious people, artists, musicians, and everyone could become a hero.” Sory also travelled with his camera by motorbike throughout remote villages and cities, photographing at baptisms and weddings, “throwing parties, setting up lights and playing records so that people could enjoy modern life.” The resulting body of work uniquely reflects the people, intimate events and aspirations that helped shape the spirit of a new nation’s post-colonial identity.

Since their rediscovery in 2012, Sanlé Sory’s photographs have been exhibited in Burkina Faso, Morocco, the United Kingdom, and France. The Art Institute of Chicago will present Sory’s work in a solo exhibition in Spring 2018. The artist currently lives in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.