October 17 — November 28, 2020

TRAPADEMIA III: 7 African Powers

Fahamu Pecou

Conduit Gallery is honored to announce a solo exhibition of new work by Atlanta-based artist, Dr. Fahamu Pecou, PhD. The exhibition will be sixth solo exhibition at Conduit Gallery for the artist.

For TRAPADEMIA III: 7 African Powers Dr. Fahamu Pecou continues his exploration of contemporary articulations of Blackness. Mining the Black experience, these works draw parallels to African spiritual and ancestral presence. Here, through large scale paintings and works on paper, Dr. Pecou specifically references the “7 African Powers” a concept that refers to the seven primary Orishas (deities) in the Ifa pantheon. Ifa is an indigenous spiritual cosmology originating in West Africa. Pecou draws parallels between contemporary Black expressions to these West African deities through the use of color, pose, and costume. Pecou attempts to redirect us away from viewing Black people as solely as victims of trauma and suffering by revealing the deeper legacy of Black identity. Pecou looks beyond the imposition of a politics of respectability, which in many ways insists that Black bodies adopt and adhere to white social constructs. Pecou’s “trap-bodies” become sites of resistance and inherent power in their own right by transforming these often misinterpreted bodies into expressions of beauty, pride, and majesty.

In 2017, Dr. Pecou began developing Trapademia™, a concept which he asserts more broadly defines the phenomenon now known as “trap.” According to Pecou, “Thanks to the popularity of trap music - a sub-genre of hip-hop music emerging from southern states - trap has become synonymous with drug dealing and drug usage. However, the drug economy, so often referenced in trap music, is but one small aspect of the broader functions of what I call trap ideology.

Trapademia™ considers trap as a technology where various social, cultural, racial, sexual, economic, and political oppressions become remedied through innovative and inventive social practices. Trapping refers to the collaborative survival strategies, coping mechanisms, and subversive acts that people employ when denied full access to social and political resources. By advancing pioneering principles and the often unremarked genius that emerge within marginalized communities, Trapademia™ elevates the liminal spaces of cultural knowledge and understanding, spaces often overlooked or misinterpreted by the mainstream. “

Dr. Fahamu Pecou is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar whose works combine observations on hip-hop, fine art and popular culture. Pecou’s paintings, performance art, and academic work addresses concerns around contemporary representations of Black masculinity and how these images impact both the reading and performance of Black masculinity.

Fahamu earned an BFA at the Atlanta College of Art in 1997 and a Ph.D. from Emory University in 2018. Dr. Pecou exhibits his art worldwide in addition to lectures and speaking engagements at colleges and universities. As an educator, Dr. Pecou has developed (ad)Vantage Point, a narrative-based arts curriculum focused on Black male youth.

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, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Seattle Art Museum, Paul R. Jones Collection, Clark Atlanta University Art Collection and Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia.

Pecou was recently named the inaugural Artist-in-Residence for the Atlanta Beltline. In 2017 he was the subject of a retrospective exhibition "Miroirs de l'Homme" in Paris, France. His work also appears in several films and television shows including; Black-ish, The Chi, and Lifetime's The 10th Date. Dr. Pecou is a recipient of the 2016 Joan Mitchell Foundation "Painters and Sculptors" Award.

Read the Dallas Morning News Review here