Nwentoma, Visual Notes From West Africa by Olivier Asselin: About the Book
Nwentoma is an Akan word for the handwoven Kente cloth from Ghana.
This is a beautiful large profile book of photographs by Olivier Asselin which perfectly highlights the modern social and cultural makeup of West Africa, particularly Ghana, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Togo. The black and white images, fifty-five in total, date from 2005 to 2007 and mainly show ordinary people doing ordinary things. There is a two page Foreword by Lark Clark (singer and radio bradcaster) and an Introduction by Olivier Asselin, which is of similar length.
Nwentoma was published in 2007 by the Folio Gallery Inc. of Alberta, Canada, for Scotia Waterous (oil and gas mergers and acquisitions corporation). It is one of a limited edition of 2,800 books published and is numbered on the preliminary page about Scotia Waterous. It was the fourteenth book in a series of photographic books published for the company.
The photographic plates span 110 pages: The fifty-five plates printed opposite their associated captions.
Being a reader, I'm not always one for illustrated books of this kind. However, I found the quality and detail of the photographs captured the essence of their subjects and gave the reader and viewer a real feel for life in West Africa in the 21st century. The old adage: A picture speaks a thousand words, was never truer, and every time I pick this book up I see something new in its photographs.
Nwentoma, Visual Notes From West Africa by Olivier Asselin: Contents:
- About Scotia Waterous
- Foreword by Lark Clark
- Introduction by Olivier Asselin
- The Black and White Plates:
- 55 full page photographic plates including: A man from Ghana working at a sewing machine, a waterfall in Volta, Ghana, girls on a ferry on Lake Volta, workers finishing off stools in an Accra workshop, child writing on a blackboard in Senegal, Elmina rooftops and many other images of Ghana, Senegal, Togo and Burkina Faso
- Olivier Asselin Biographical Notes
- Other Scotia Waterous Photographic Books
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About the Nwentoma Photographer: Olivier Asselin
In his introduction Olivier Asselin says: "I believe strong images have the potential to leave an impression twice as strong as the most eloquent prose and, in a single glance, open up a whole new world to the viewer."
Olivier Asselin was born in 1978 and raised in Cubano (Eastern Quebec). As a young man he qualified with a degree in computer science but his passion for photography and, in particular, how people live, led him in a different direction. After a six month stint as a volunteer with Canada World Youth in Bolivia, he sought to experience other cultures and, to enable a career change, he studied for a Diploma in Journalism and Photojournalism at the Western Academy of Photography (2004, British Colombia). After a period in Morocco, Olivier took up another volunteer post, this time with Journalists for Human Rights. This took him to Ghana where he remained after his volunteering was complete. Settling for a few years in the capital, Accra, he became a freelance photographer.
Olivier Allesin has had photographs published around the world including in publications such as Time Magazine, New York Times and Newsweek. He has worked for media organisations in Latin America, Asia and Africa. He is also a videographer and in 2013 he directed The Permaculture Orchard: Beyond Organic, a feature length educational documentary film showing viewers how to set up a permaculture orchard.
About the Nwentoma Publisher: Folio Gallery Inc:
Based in Calgary, Canada, the Folio Gallery Inc is an art gallery. I have been unable to find any books published by them other than the photographic books for Scotia Waterous (2005 onwards) and previously for Scotia Capital and Waterous & Co:
1994 The Canadian Rockies by Craig Richards
1995 Requiem: The Vanishing Face of the Canadian Prairies by George Webber
1996 The French Store: Newfoundland's Port-au-Port Peninsula by Louise Abbot
1997 Strangely Familiar: Landscape Photographs of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia by Gary Wilson
1998 Beyond the Mountains by David Evans
1999 Chasms of Silence by Marten Berkman
2000 Intersection: Toronto and the Poetics of Urban Space by Jeremy Taylor
2001 Rock, River and Thorn: The Big Bend of the Rio Grande by Frank Armstrong
2002 Canyonland Vision: The Colorado Plateau of Southeast Utah by David Gibson
2003 Britain: Momentary Footprints by David Osborn
2004 Bajo Las Estrellas/Under the Stars by Marcos Zimmermann
2005 Indonesia: The Mists of Time by Arbain Rambey
2006 A Spiritual Connection: Living On the Edge of the American Rockies by Eileen Benjamin
2007 Nwentoma: Visual Notes from West Africa by Olivier Asselin
2008 Here Is Home: Photographs from Northern Louisiana by Jenny Ellerbe
2009 Pa'Lante: A Journey Through Columbia by Alexander Reiser
2010 Beijing: Urban Evolution by Michael Martina
2011 South Korea: Memories of the Heart by Seongjoon Cho
2012 Composition in Stone: Photographs from the Canadian Rockies by Craig Richards
2013 Legacy: Twenty Years of Black and White Photography by Adam Waterous and others
About Scotia Waterous
This book was published two years after Waterous and Co and Scotia Capital amalgamated to become Scotia Waterous. There there were a number of photographic books in the series published before 2005: These bore the Waterous and Co name.
Waterous and Co was founded by Adam Waterous and others in 1987. It was a company which offered oil and gas market analysis and advice. Scotia Capital was the global corporate and investment banking arm of the Bank of Nova Scotia. When the firms joined together in 2005 the new entity (Scotia Waterous), soon became a market leader in the oil and gas industries, particularly in mergers and acquisitions: Based in Calgary, Canada, this new corporate relationship specialised in takeover strategies for both buyers and sellers, guidance on defence strategies and recapitalising, restructuring, valuing and finance.
My understanding is that Scotia Waterous no longer exists in this form. In 2017 Adam Waterous became involved with the Waterous Energy Fund, a private equity firm.
Physical Outline: Nwentoma, Visual Notes From West Africa
- Title: Nwentoma: Visual Notes from West Africa
- Author: Introduction and photographs by Olivier Asselin, Foreword by Lark Clark
- Published by Folio Gallery Inc., 1st edition, 2007
- Edition limited to 2,800 copies, the photographed copy being numbered 1203
- Format: A large book with its original dust jacket
- Pages: 118, unpaginated, including introductory and closing text, 55 full page black and white photos with captions on each of the facing pages
- Size Approx: 364x257mm
- Approx weight: 1407g
Estimated Book Value: Nwentoma, Visual Notes From West Africa
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Nwentoma, Visual Notes from West Africa by Olivier Asselin, estimated value of the pictured copy, a first limited edition, which is in fine condition in a fine dust jacket, £50
Estimated value of the same book in good condition, £25