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Akinbode Akinbiyi

Akinbode Akinbiyi
Photo: Maik Schuck

Akinbode Akinbiyi is one of the most prominent African photographers worldwide. In the mid-1970s he began to photograph as an autodidact and, after stays in Heidelberg and Munich, finally moved to West Berlin where he has lived ever since. Akinbode Akinbiyi’s focuses are reportage, architectural and cultural photography. The main focus of his work is on rapidly growing and changing African megacities. His pictures have been shown at exhibitions and biennials in Tokyo, Paris, Philadelphia, Johannesburg and Havana, and have been published in various magazines. “Far from clichés and exoticism, the photographer moves elegantly between different cultural contexts, conveys to us an impression of the most varied of urban lifestyles, opens horizons without judging what he’s seen or exaggerating his own views,” emphasized the artist and photographer Eva Leitolf in her laudatory speech for Akinbode Akinbiyi. “His pictures are both a gift and a challenge; an invitation to take the time to look, not only to consume images,” she said. “Reduced to the essential, his black and white photography,” in Leitolf’s interpretation, “becomes a quiet act of resistance, a reduction of the world around us, to the reserved tones of the grey scale, to symbols and structures.” In addition to his work as a photographer, Akinbode Akinbiyi works internationally as a curator and author. He usually writes the texts that accompany his exhibitions himself. The project “Centers of learning for photography in Africa” initiated by Akinbode Akinbiyi and the Goethe-Institut Nigeria has also made him an important mentor of young photographers from Africa. Next year he will take part in documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel with new works.