Guillaume Bonn, Available Works at Circle Art Gallery
Guillaume Bonn (b. 1974)
For many years Bonn has been trying to come to terms with the changes that are transforming Africa into a place that is far removed from what he knew as a child.
“We are told that progress is a good thing, that mobile phones and the Internet will make us all happier and our lives better. Along with those things, skyscrapers, highways, parking lots, and all the other accouterments of consumerism have begun to find their way into Africa, and to change it.” In his most recent exhibition, 'From Maputo to Mogadishu, Circle Art Gallery, 2019, Bonn was trying to capture the last vestiges of the twentieth century on the coastline of East Africa before they disappear. Bonn traveled northwards beside the Indian Ocean creating a visual notebook as well as a repository of memory.
Along the coast from Mozambique to Somalia, newcomers had arrived continuously from other places, each bringing new influences with them. There were conquerors, explorers, traders, and immigrants, and they included the Portuguese, Omanis, Indians, British, Italians, Germans, and French. Subject to the varied forces of their own histories, each country is also unique in their modern incarnation, not entirely free of the collective traumas of their colonial past and many already succumbing to the embrace of a powerful and wealthy newcomer from abroad, China.
Bonn studied Economics and International Politics at Université de Montréal and Université du Québec à Montréal and graduated from the International Centre of Photography in New York.
For the last twenty years, he has reported on conflict, social and environment issues. He was one of the first on the ground to cover the Darfur crisis from inside Sudan for The New York Times and also reported in depth on the sexual abuse committed against children in Congo by United Nations peacekeepers.
Bonn is the recipient of a PDN award, the POPCAP12 African contemporary photography, a grant from the Pulitzer center for crisis reporting and was nominated three times to the Pictet prize. He is the author of five monographs, including; “Le Mal d’Afrique: A Journey into Old and New Africa” and “Mosquito Coast, travels from Maputo to Mogadishu”.
He has directed a number of documentaries, including “Peter Beard: Scrapbooks from Africa and Beyond” on the American artist, which was screened at the Sundance Film Festival and shown on TV channels worldwide. He worked as a cameraman on “Dying to Tell the Story”, a ninety-minute Emmy award winning CNN documentary made on his childhood friend and photographer, Dan Eldon killed in Mogadishu during the US failed “Restore Hope” operation.
He was a contributor to Vanity Fair magazine for fifteen years, and covered a range of stories, including the conflict in North Uganda with the late writer, Christopher Hitchens, the murder of conservationist Joan Root near Lake Naivasha, the Paris Fashion Weeks and “Agony and Ivory” on the African elephants and the ivory trade.
Bonn is a contributor to Everyday Africa and a creative visual content consultant for the perfume company Memo Paris.