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Photographer and Historian Kojo Kamau Passes Away at 77

Walker Evans Walker Evans Photographer and Historian Kojo Kamau Passes Away at 77Kojo Kamau and his wife Pepper Johnson, during Comfest in 2008 — Photo by Todd Popp.
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Columbus native Kojo Kamau has been documenting the history of our city through photography for over a half a century, but his narrative has come to an end.

“It is with a sad heart that I have to inform you my father Kojo Kamau has passed,” stated Kenya Jones via Facebook this morning.

Kamau was well known throughout Columbus and beyond for his photography that has captured the people and places of Columbus and in his travels far beyond his hometown. Many of his works are now featured in permanent collections at the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus Foundation, Hilton Columbus Downtown, Central Ohio Transit Authority and the Ohio Supreme Court. His work has shown in exhibitions in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Toronto, West Africa and the Bahamas.

In 2014, Kamau’s work was prominently and permanently featured, along with work by artist Larry Winston Collins, in the unveiling of the Long Street Cultural Wall that now reconnects Downtown Columbus and the Near East Side.

“I first met Kojo a decade ago at the Columbus Arts Festival where he and his wife Pepper were selling photographs of Columbus that he took in the early 1960s,” stated local historian Doug Motz in a feature written about Kamau in 2014. “I was immediately struck by his terrific artwork, his gentle way and his deliberate way of speaking.”

When Motz asked Kamau in 2014 about the photographs and work he would like to be remembered for, Kamau responded:

“I’m a simple person and I would like for people to remember to be kind to each other. Everybody’s created equal.”

For more information, visit www.kojophotosusa.net.

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