In the winter of 2010 ZAM published a twelve-page photo feature of Fela Kuti’s 1981 Paris concert by famous photographer-of-the-stars Anton Corbijn. Most images had not been previously published or digitized. Corbijn had found them in the archives of his studio in London and had donated to ZAM the right to publish these.
Prior to this gesture a meeting, organised by one of Corbijn’s relatives, had taken place between the photographer and ZAM-editor-in-chief Bart Luirink. Told that visual artist Marlene Dumas had previously supported ZAM through a donation of a portrait of Nelson Mandela, Corbijn offered to follow in her footsteps. “Maybe some of the pictures I took at that concert in Paris”, the photographer suggested. We gratefully accepted.
The idea was to do a ‘Dumas’ with one or several of the images but Corbijn, sadly, couldn’t find any that were suitable for graphic reprint. In order to still create such an image for ZAM, Corbijn eventually opted for a portrait he made of Nelson Mandela, which he then worked on with visual artist Berend Strik. Thus was born the Mandela Landscape (hyperlink).
The series of pictures portraying the famous Nigerian musician, activist and womanizer Fela Kuti found its way into that years’ winter edition of ZAM.
2015 Is the year in which the self-taught Corbijn turns sixty. After his career as the portrait photographer of John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Bono, and many other international celebrities, Corbijn is now making a name for himelf as a filmmaker. His “A Most Wanted Man,” with Philip Seymour Hoffman in the latter’s last leading role, was a box office success. Soon to be released is ‘Life,’ the story of a friendship with James Dean.
Following the retrospective exhibit ‘Hollands Diep’ of Corbijn's work in two musea in The Hague in the Netherlands, ZAM now presents the first digital publication of its Fela Kuti pictures.
- The exhibitions in the Hague: http://www.gemeentemuseum.nl/en/exhibitions/anton-corbijn
Note: Art direction for this feature: Nicole Segers