This community art project (2014) is part 2 of "I am Walé Respect Me". A series about an initiation ritual among pygmies in DR Congo (where I grew up) where female subjects stage their return to society through a lyrical account of their isolation. Each image is inspired by a song. No photomontage. No collage. All installations are built in the bush, using materials from the forest, together with locals. By documenting indigenous culture through carefully composed performative images, I aim to take my images far from the usual clichéd depiction of Congo and bring a fresh interpretation of Africa.
The Debt Project a photographic and multimedia exploration of the role debt plays in our personal identity and social structure.
Excerpts from 99 portraits of debt across America.
Revising History is a study on photography, the nature of the vernacular image, and its role in creating cultural allegories. The work intends to create a dialogue about the photograph as simulacrum- the moment versus the referent. To engage these layered truths I replace the central figure in found vernacular photographs with an image of myself. Snapshots now intervene in almost every aspect of life. The danger in this is we seem to have forgotten that the picture liberates the moment from reality, erases vantage, and is inevitable susceptible to co-opted or underwritten fantasy.
The overall quality of the submissions to Center’s Awards this year made it extremely challenging to choose only three bodies of work for the new Exhibitions Choice Awards. Each of the following projects could easily capture a viewer’s attention and spark their imagination when shown in galleries or on museum walls.
Patrick Willocq’s Forever Walé is an incredibly imaginative exploration of initiation rituals among pygmies in DR Congo, where female subjects stage their return to society through a lyrical account of their isolation.
Brittany M. Powell’s, The Debt Project simply, but powerfully illuminates the reality of the current personal financial state of many individuals in our culture.
In Reviving History, Jennifer Greenburg seamlessly inserts pictures of herself into old family photos lending a little humor to our troubling times. It’s a new kind of fantasy performance art that is deftly done.
These artists are smart in their approaches and have conceptually and aesthetically compelling projects. It’s work that can be returned to again and again.
Additionally I’d like to acknowledge the following artists whose work I also found particularly engaging, thus making it difficult to narrow it down to three primary choices. Michael Courvoisier, Alejandro Durán, Klaus Enrique, Jennifer Greenburg, John Hathaway, Kevin Horan, Isabel Magowan, Ben Marcin, Justyna Mielnikiewicz, Jessica Eve Rattner, J.P. Terlizzi and Marta Zgierska.