Nyaba Ouedraogo sees ghosts along the Congo River

The Study will have a whole lot going on when it opens: craft sessions with Manchester Craft Mafia, a fish-and-mint installation from the Biospheric Studio, a collections study centre and open research space, plus bespoke furniture created by BKD (which comes with clever things like a built-in microscope capable of sharing images direct to Twitter).

But The Study also opens with a striking new photo exhibition by Nyaba Ouedraogo, the self-taught photographer who lives and works in France and West Africa. The Phantoms of the Congo River is both a ballad to and a deconstruction of Joseph Conrad’s famous 19th-century novel, Heart of Darkness, a book that explored colonialism and racism via the story of a doomed and dangerous voyage along the Congo River.

In his striking photographs Ouedraogo re-enacts scenes from Conrad’s iconic novel and follows the journey taken within it, but he does so in such a way that doesn’t just look back. Ouedraogo looks at the here and now, at the residues of colonialism that persist in present-day Africa. Objects from the Museum’s own collection sit alongside Ouedraogo’s photographs – and it’s an exhibition that promises to be both beautiful and thought provoking. It opens, like the rest of The Study, on 11 September.

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