4 June - 7 July 2007
Rotimi Fani-Kayodé is considered to be one of the most important and influential black photographers of the 20th century. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1955 of Yoruba descent, he was at the forefront of destabilising the stereotypical view of Africa and 'Africanness'. Referencing the Yoruba technique of ecstasy where reality is distorted to create altered states of consciousness, he creates environments in which to investigate issues relating to race, sexuality and desire. These narratives created in the studio using props and models invert, subvert and appropriate canons of western art. As he wrote: "Both aesthetically and ethically I seek to translate my rage and my desire into new images which will undermine conventional perceptions and which may reveal hidden worlds. Many of the images are seen as sexually explicit - or more precisely, homosexually explicit. I make my pictures homosexual on purpose. Black men from the Third World have not previously revealed either to their own people or to the west a certain shocking fact: they can desire each other." Michael Stevenson Gallery included a number of Fani-Kayodé's images on an exhibition titled Staged Realities in early 2004, and in 2006 showed a selection of black and white images from his estate. The gallery is now pleased to present a selection of Fani-Kayodé's large-scale colour work, in close association with Autograph, the influential association of black photographers established in London in 1987 of which Fani-Kayodé was a founder member.
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© 2006 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.