Galerie Cécile Fakhoury is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of the Beninese artist Roméo Mivekannin on the African continent, Les Âmes du peuple noir (The Souls of Black Folk).
The artist Roméo Mivekannin draws his inspiration from photographic archives and paintings emblematic of the history of Western art. From Jean-Léon Gérôme’s Slave Sale (1873) to Gustave Manet’s Olympia (1863), via 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-centric viewer.
The artist’s works, black acrylic paintings on canvases tinted by repeated baths of elixir, then become the site of the questioning of a marked iconography inherited from the systems of human trafficking and domination that were slavery and colonisation. 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, not without irony, his own vision of common narratives.
«Take myself as a subject, take my own body as a subject.»