Fahamu Pecou: Black Magic: The Société Générale Collection retrospective, Paris, from September 28 until 25 November.
Line of Sight, 2017.
American artist Fahamu Pecou presents BLACK MAGIC at Backslash, his fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. The show coincides with Miroirs de l’homme, a retrospective of his work organised jointly by the Société Générale Collection and Backslash, and the publication of his monograph Visible Man. The exhibition features a new series of works that reorients perceptions of Black identity and culture. This perception contrasts with the distorted images of Blackness inherited from the colonial era, whose destructive power did not succeed in totally destroying the legacy of Black culture and beauty.
Fahamu Pecou employs various media to highlight the importance and beauty of African ancestral heritage and provide a glimpse into new views of Black identity. Throughout history, African culture and spirituality have been perceived and treated as diabolical, frightening, comical or embedded in ignorance. The devastating effects of colonisation resulted in unjust and revolting representations of Africans and Black culture, conveyed, for example, by advertising images. This injustice has also influenced the thinking of people of African descent, the result is a skewed self-perception impacts the way people throughout the African Diapsora have viewed and in many ways, still see themselves.
Fahamu Pecou’s goal is to invite an authentic and honest view of the Black identity. His drawings and paintings depict an iconography rooted in African heritage, including imagery linked to Yoruba, the ancestral religion of West Africa. A system of codes and icons reveals the undeniable beauty, power and autonomy of Africa. Staying faithful to his other series of works, he paints poignant self-portraits, his body draped in costumes, objects and masks from West Africa. Here the artist lays bare the full beauty of the Black soul, reminding us that BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL.
Even in darkness.
The artist explains : « Despite significant efforts to diminish and devalue Africa’s contributions to the world-at-large, much of its performance, iconography, spiritual practices, and ideas persist as cultural retentions throughout the world. All across the African Diaspora, many aspects of indigenous African cultures endure in everyday practice. From religious beliefs to various forms of art to body language and other non-verbal forms of communication, these “Africanisms” are a large part of our daily lives. »
Fahamu Pecou’s work has been shown throughout the world, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia and High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston. His art also features in numerous public collections, such as at the Seattle Art Museum, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, The West Collection in Philadelphia and the Société Générale Collection in Paris. Fahamu Pecou has a Ph.D. from Emory University’s Institute of Liberal Arts (ILA) in Atlanta.