Roger DaSilva’s rediscovered archive reveals 1950s Senegal stylish

A woman sitting on a moped by the roadside poses for the camera.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

Celebrities, presidents and partygoers are all a part of a wealthy archive of pictures from Senegal within the 1950s and 1960s principally unseen by the general public till now.


They’re the work of World Struggle Two veteran Roger DaSilva who arrange his personal picture studio within the capital Dakar – “Studio Da Silva” – the place many of those images have been taken.

“He was an artist at coronary heart,” his son Luc DaSilva tells the BBC. “Pictures was his life.”


Men dressed in boxing shorts with bandaged hands pose in a line for the camera.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

A toddler wearing a T-shirt, dungarees and lace-up shoes poses inside the camera studio.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

Men and women dance in couples.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

Roger DaSilva was by no means formally exhibited throughout his lifetime but he had an enormous physique of labor of about 75,00zero images on negatives, most of which stay unseen.

They’ve since been restored by the Josef and Anni Albers Basis, Le Korsa and Luc DaSilva’s Xaritufoto organisation – with a collection of these now on show at this weekend’s Additionally Recognized As Africa artwork and design honest in Paris.

Two women pose for the camera in the photographer's studio.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

A woman, Madame Gomez, poses on top of car with two young children stood by the vehicle.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

Picture caption

A girl, Madame Gomez, poses on prime of automobile with two younger kids stood by the car.

Men and women dressed in eveningwear are seen sitting down and talking with drinks and cigarettes in hand.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

Roger DaSilva was born in Benin and took up images when he joined the French military in 1942.

“He was wounded whereas in service, so a colonel drafted him in to take medical images in hospitals – some have been of people that had survived focus camps,” Luc says.

Quickly after the battle ended DaSilva determined to settle in Senegal.

At the moment, Senegal like many different African nations was on the cusp of independence. DaSilva’s images seize Dakar’s excessive society of the period – the upscale nightclubs and weddings, in addition to household portraits and avenue scenes.

Three men dressed in loose shirts and holding cigarettes stand by the bar.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

Men dressed in white boubous and turbans walk together. One of them is sheltered from the sun by another man who holds a parasol over his head.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

A man and baby girl pose for the camera in the photographer's studio.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

A woman poses on the studio floor in a white wedding gown, lace gloves and veil.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

Three young girls wearing matching dresses, earrings and threaded hairstyles sit in a line and pose for the camera.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

A sharply dressed chauffeur poses with his vehicle outside Roger DaSilva's studio.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

DaSilva lower an elegant determine himself, as his self-portraits present. In a single, we see him poised with a cigarette in hand.

One other exhibits him shaking palms with US jazz icon Ella Fitzgerald on the 1966 World Competition of Black Arts in Dakar.

Roger DaSilva shakes hands with US jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald in a self-timed photograph.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

He additionally met and photographed jazz musician Louis Armstrong there, alongside Oscar-winning actress Ingrid Bergman.

US jazz musician Louis Armstrong (C) smiles and shakes hands with another man.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

One other notable topic he captured was Senegal’s first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor.

“I feel all of them made an enormous impression on him,” Luc says. “However Satchmo [Louis Armstrong’s nickname] was his favorite singer.”

Security personnel flank Léopold Sédar Senghor, then-president of Senegal, who shakes hands with an unseen man.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

A young man and woman smile for the camera as they embrace.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

A elder woman sits at the entrance to a home, alongside infants, children and young adults.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

Restoration of those pictures has been a joint effort over a number of years.

“There is a spirit of pleasure and gaiety in my father’s images, I really feel very near his work,” says Luc.

“That is about archive and reminiscence, and preserving and valuing African images. It is a shared heritage.”

Roger DaSilva poses for a self-timed photograph with a cigarette in hand.Picture copyright
Roger DaSilva/Josef and Anni Albers Basis

Picture caption

Roger DaSilva 1925 – 2008

All pictures taken by Roger DaSilva, copyright of the Josef and Anni Albers Basis and courtesy of Xaritufoto and Le Korsa.

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