HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY to The Legendary Nigeria’s ace photographer, photo-artist, editor and publisher, Sunmi Smart-cole- The Legend News



HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY to Nigeria’s ace photographer, photo-artist, editor and publisher, Sunmi Smart-cole- The Legend News

Sunmi Smart-Cole, born September 25th, 1941, in Port Harcourt, of Nigerian-Sierra Leonean parentage, is reputed as the father of modern photography in Nigeria.

Sunmi is mostly self-taught. He was an elementary school teacher at age fifteen. At seventeen, he started training as an architectural draughtsman, and subsequently designed, among others, the country home of the late Sierra Leone’s Prime Minister, Sir Albert Margai. As a Soul music drummer and jazz percussionist, in the 1960s, he was a founding member of the Soul Assembly.

He organized the first Nigerian Jazz festival in 1964 at King’s College hall in Lagos.
In 1967, his Yaba barber shop “Sunmi’s Place”, was a trend-setting centre for the fashionable Lagos elite.

In 1972, he went to the U.S.A where he worked as an electronic drafter and technical illustrator. His strong visual sense made him embark on a photography course in 1976 at Foothill College in Los Altos, California. Sunmi held his first solo exhibition at Stanford University, Stanford, California, in 1978. In December 1978, he was invited by the National Council for Arts and Culture to mount an exhibition at the National Arts Theatre, Lagos. He continued to work to support his new interest until his return to Nigeria in 1982. Since then, Sunmi has consolidated his position, both as a professional photographer of international standing and leader of the field in his own country. In 1983, he became the first photo editor of the Guardian Newspaper.

He is a multi-award winner including the 3rd Commonwealth Photography Exhibition award in Hong Kong (1983).

The Sunmi Smart-Cole Gallery of Photography (probably the first in Africa) was opened in Yaba, Lagos, in 1990.


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