The Sweating Subject

“The Sweating Subject” is a series of group portraits of tribal chiefs and their court of Gonda or Dagomba tribe, which include the Dutch photographer Jan Banning. These selfies without self-determination recall colonial photography in which we see a white man pose as the big boss together with his coloured “subjects”. But the white man appearing in these images is a lot less imposing: he looks like a stranger, misplaced and perspiring heavily so unsuited is he to the climate.


Jan Banning (Almelo, Netherlands, 1954) is a Dutch independent artist/photographer. He has published many books and his photos are in the permanent collection of various museums.

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