The artist Roméo Mivekannin draws his inspiration from photographic archives and iconic paintings emblematic of the history of Western art. From Jean-Léon Gérôme's Vente d'esclave (1873) to Gustave Manet's Olympia (1863) and the first photographic portraits of the colonial monarchies of the second half of the 19th century, Roméo Mivekannin focuses particularly on the ambiguous representations of black figures, sources of both fascination and fear, sometimes anonymised, eroticized or objectified and intended for the almost exclusive eye of a male and Euro-centred viewer.

 

The artist's works, black acrylic paintings on canvases tinted by repeated elixir baths, are thus the place to question a marked iconography inherited from the systems of human trafficking and domination that slavery and colonization were. Drawing a continuous direct line between past and contemporary history, the artist chooses to take up the facts of these historical representations and subvert their primary narrative in order to construct, somewhat ironically, his own vision of common narratives.  

 

“Taking myself as a subject, taking my own body as a subject.”

 

In his works, Roméo Mivekannin thus questions the invisible and the hidden. He brings to light the workings of representation that carry the systems of domination and introduces a subtle critique, on the borderline between rewriting a collective memory and repairing a personal identity fracture.