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Dr. Fahamu Pecou is an Atlanta-based interdisciplinary artist and scholar whose works combine observations on hip-hop, fine art, and popular culture. As Dr. 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.”

Dr. 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, Paul R. Jones Collection, Clark Atlanta University Art Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia.

Fahamu Pecou
Untitled 2, 2016
13 x 14.5 inches
Archival pigment print

The original photograph was featured in the exhibition DO OR DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance which debuted at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston from August 26 through October 8, 2016. This piece is part of a series of four photographs of Dr. Fahamu Pecou’s Egungun Masquerade, modeled by Dr. Pecou himself.

For his body of work in the DO OR DIE exhibition, Dr. Pecou created an all-white “New World” Egungun costume, consisting of a hoodie, sweat pants, athletic shoes, a flywhisk, and a beaded cowry-shell mask. Strips of cloth with names including Martin, Trayvon, Emmett, Malcolm, etc., replaced the highly decorated lappets of garments with amulets that appear on a traditional Egungun costume. In so doing, the artist defied the finality of death by invoking the Black men and boys and permanently locating them in works of art. 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. Through performance, painting, drawing, and video Dr. Pecou reframes our view, incorporating references from Yoruba/Ifa ritual to cultural retentions of hip-hop to the philosophy of Négritude, and through this shapes a story that seeks to affirm life via an understanding of the balance between life and death.