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‘DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance,’ Exhibition
September 19, 2019 - November 21, 2019
This fall, the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History will host a solo exhibition entitled DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance. This show, on loan from the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston, features the work of award-winning visual artist, Fahamu Pecou. Pecou is an Atlanta-based 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. He incorporates references from the West African religion Yoruba and Ifa rituals with African cultural retentions in hip-hop as well as the philosophy of Négritude. 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 Ph.D. 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.”