Oumar Ly

Bush and studio portraits, Podor 1963/1978

January 16th> March 20th, 2020

In the context of the COVID-19 health crisis, the Regard Sud gallery is currently closed.

We offer you a virtual tour of the Portraits of the bush and studio exhibition,

Podor 1963-1978 , to re (discover) some pictures of the Senegalese photographer Oumar Ly.

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Sans titre. Série Podor, 1963-1978 © Oumar Ly - courtesy Sitor Senghor 

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Sans titre. Série Podor, 1963-1978 © Oumar Ly - courtesy Sitor Senghor 

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Sans titre. Série Podor, 1963-1978 © Oumar Ly - courtesy Sitor Senghor 

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Sans titre. Série Podor, 1963-1978 © Oumar Ly - courtesy Sitor Senghor 

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Sans titre. Série Podor, 1963-1978 © Oumar Ly - courtesy Sitor Senghor 

Omar Ly died in 2016 at the age of 73.

He leaves behind a large family and unique photographic archives, relating the life of the inhabitants of Podor and the surrounding villages.

We discover a small world populated by the faces of children and adults who have posed in the studio, from the years 1963, in front of the painted canvases of a Boeing 747, a mosque, a lush landscape .

There is also - and what is rarer - thousands of pictures taken in the villages with only a loincloth, the white door of the sub-prefect's 2CV or quite simply the pale sky crushed by the heat. On these images we can guess, sneaked in, the landscape of the bush: dry land sparse with acacias; whipped by harmattan. And above all the singularity of each of the models who timidly, awkwardly, offer themselves for the first time to the photographer's lens.

All these magnificent and moving portraits will forever remain in Podor's memory. Portraits of singular elegance, true images, simply true and free. ”

_____

Frederique Chapuis

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Oumar Ly is a merchant's son, born in 1943 in Podor on the banks of the Senegal River. He never learned to read. It was by chance, watching the soldiers in the fort taking pictures that he discovered photography. Young Ly acquires his first camera, a Kodak Brownie flash for 1500 CFA. He trained with Demba Assane Sy who works alongside his profession as a nurse as a photographer.

Fate smiles on him when Senegal, now independent, wants to provide the populations with identity papers. The administration hires him and sends him to roam the bush to take pictures of his fellow citizens. In 1963, the photo was in fashion. Customers flock to have their portrait taken at the Thioffy studio, located in the market district of Podor, then a prosperous small commercial town, on the border with Mauritania.

Until his death in 2016, he will not leave his native region and his studio, After having photographed all eras, the rich in boubous, families, young people in Yéyé fashion and even the public events that marked life from this remote province, north of Senegal.

Highlighted by the Marie-Louise & Fils association, the “Brousse Portraits” were brought together in an album published by Editions Filigranes in 2009.

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