From October 1st to 30th, the Northeast Harbor Library will be showing photographs of West Africa taken in 1968 and ‘69 by Lucas Kiers. These arresting images in black-and-white show people at home, in their villages and fields, in busy markets and urban streets in Togo, Benin, and Nigeria, and further north in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Kiers’ photos are not travelogue pictures, nor are they intentionally documentary; they brim with the photographer’s affection and respect for his subjects, and are characterized by the visual intimacy that comes with never using a telephoto lens.The exhibition is enhanced by a vivid display of West African tie-dye fabrics collected at the time.
Lucas Kiers’ work is in the permanent collection of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. He has had solo shows at the De Young Museum and the James Willis gallery in San Francisco and the Silverstein Gallery in New York City. His West African photos were the subject of a one-man show at the San Francisco African-American Historical Society. “Looking for a picture to take”, Kiers says, “can actually distract you from your surroundings.” Instead, in his work he remains alert for the coincidence of moment and intuition when the picture seems to “take” him.
This exhibition was coordinated by Mt. Desert resident Philip Heckscher. Philip has recently published a travel memoir, TOGO Being Human, recounting his own West African experiences in the late sixties and illustrated with many of Kiers’ photographs. There will be copies for sale at the library when they become available.
The exhibit can be viewed during the library’s operating hours, 9 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday and 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays. For more information contact the library at 207 276 3333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.