August 26, 2016

    DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, School of the Arts at the College of Charleston

Fahamu Pecou, Something Eternal (detail), 2016. Acrylic and gold leaf on canvas, 96 x 60 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston presents a solo exhibition entitled Fahamu Pecou’s DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance, August 26 through October 8. Fahamu Pecou is an Atlanta-based visual artist and scholar whose works combine observations on hip-hop, fine art and popular culture. Pecou is profoundly involved in exploring the state of Black existence—life and death—in his work. In the midst of the endemic and pervasive threat of violence that is often a fact of life for young black men the artist asks, “Under looming threat of death, how might we inspire life? Through what mechanisms could we resist the psychological violence and despair inspired by the threat of violence and usher in hope?” Or how might art serve as a “space of resistance?”

DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance serves as one artist’s action in opposition to these overwhelming societal forces, seeking instead to elevate and re-contextualize Black life and death. Through performance, painting, drawing and video Pecou reframes our view. He incorporates references from the West African religion Yoruba and Ifa rituals. In addition, Pecou integrates African cultural retentions found in hip-hop and the philosophy of Négritude, and through this, he shapes a story that seeks to affirm life via an understanding of the balance between life and death. This exhibit is born out of Pecou’s research and scholarship as a PhD student at Emory University.

Pecou states: “My work seeks to provide a crucial intervention in contemporary representations of Black masculinity. I began my career experimenting with the branding strategies employed in hip-hop music and entertainment. These experiments ultimately led me to question not only the stereotypes engendered by the commodification of hip-hop culture, but more, to consider how the influence of historic and social configurations of race, class and gender impact and inform these representations.”


About Fahamu Pecou
Fahamu Pecou is an Atlanta-based visual artist and scholar whose works combine observations on hip-hop, fine art and popular culture. Pecou’s work is featured in noted private and public national and international collections including; Smithsonian National Museum of African American Art and Culture, Societe Generale (Paris), Nasher Museum at Duke University, The High Museum of Art, Paul R. Jones Collection, Clark Atlanta University Art Collection and Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia.

About The Halsey Institute   
The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston provides a multidisciplinary laboratory for the production, presentation, interpretation, and dissemination of ideas by innovative visual artists from around the world. As a non-collecting museum, we create meaningful interactions between adventurous artists and diverse communities within a context that emphasizes the historical, social, and cultural importance of the art of our time.


Fahamu Pecou at Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art

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