Sanlé Sory’s ‘Peuple de la Nuit’ portraits capture the vibrant youth culture, dance parties and flourishing music scene of his home city, a Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, West Africa.
This expansive collection of images, taken between the years 1960-1985 will be unveiled for the first time in a stunning exhibition and book.
Recently unearthed from Sanlé’s personal archive, ‘Peuple de la Nuit’ is an evocative tribute to the nightlife of a distant era. This collection of black-and-white photographs the carefree spirit of Sanlé’s subjects, including the musicians, dancers and lovers that graced some of Bobo’s hippest venues - Volta Dancing, Calebasse d’Or, Normandie and Dafra Bar.
Eager to portray the region’s unique energy and passion, Sory would set off towards the remote villages along the Kou Valley, north West of Bobo. Driving in his Volta Photo Citroen 2CV van carrying a few lights and a home-made sound system, Sanlé would stage his own Bals Poussière (dustball parties) which often lasted until well after sunrise – at which point the farmers and herders would head straight back to tend their fields and cattle.
Born in 1943 in Burkina Faso, back when it was still a French colony known as Republique de Haute- Volta, Sanlé Sory began to take photographs in 1960 – the year the country regained independence. After cutting his teeth working as an apprentice to a Ghanian photographer for several years, by 1960 Sanlé had established his own studio, Volta Photo, in his hometown, Bobo-Dioulasso, which instantly became a cultural hub for the city’s most stylish residents – young and old, rich and poor.
After working long days there, Sory would often go out and shoot the vibrant nightlife of his hometown and surrounding areas, amassing hundreds of photos spanning several decades which remained undiscovered until well into his 70s.
Now exhibited for the very first time at the David Hill Gallery in London and coinciding with a book of the same name published by Stanley / Barker, ‘Peuple de Nuit’ is a fascinating portrait of youth culture and the enigmatic night-time scene during the first decades of African independence.