Dr. Fahamu Pecou opens a new exhibit at the University of the South featuring never-before-seen process images and photography

The University Art Gallery of the University of the South is delighted to present “Behind the SEEN: Process, Performance, and Practice in the Work of Fahamu Pecou” (January 11- March 9, 2022). 

Performance – specifically the performance of Black masculinity – is at the heart of Atlanta-based artist Dr. Fahamu Pecou’s artistic practice, from inhabiting and toying with hip-hop personas to reimagining and performing Egungun masquerade – an Ifa religious ritual from West Africa.
Throughout his work, Pecou manipulates roles and stereotypes in order to question how Black masculinity and identity are imagined, circumscribed, and read. Associations of high and low are reversed, and the conventions and symbols of pop culture, of Trap music, of Yoruba culture, of academia, are combined to thwart expectations. Pecou’s compelling images invite and challenge the viewer, and work, in his words, “to subvert the gaze,” that is, to make us think about our own act of looking.
Carefully orchestrated photo sessions, planned in collaboration with photographers, stylists, make-up artists, and models, are the starting point for each of his projects. Pecou performs the central role. His face is most often averted or obscured – with cotton, or sunglasses, or the crown of an oba. The artist is not the subject of the photographs. Instead, he uses his body to make visible the role he plays. These photo sessions yield hundreds of source images that become the foundation for Pecou’s drawings and paintings. Each rendering of an image in paint and graphite becomes another performance.
Behind the SEEN: Process, Performance, and Practice in the Work of Fahamu Pecou includes images from multiple bodies of work, including Trapademia, Trapademia II: Lit, Memory, and Praise Songs. It is the first public exhibition of reference images from Pecou’s studio sessions, featuring never-before-seen photographs alongside paintings, and offering a glimpse into the artist’s process.

On Thursday Jan. 20, 2022,  the University Art Gallery is delighted to present a conversation with Dr. Fahamu Pecou, the artist behind Behind the SEEN: Process, Performance, and Practice, led by International and Global Studies professor Dr. Emmanuel Asiedu-Acquah. Following the formal conversation in Guerry Auditorium from 5 to 6 p.m., the event will move into the UAG to allow for further questions and conversation.

Dr. Fahamu Pecou is an Atlanta-based artist and scholar who works on an international stage. He received a B.F.A. from the Atlanta College of Art in 1997 and a Ph.D. from Emory University in 2018. Pecou’s paintings, photographs, performances, and multimedia installations explore and challenge representations of Black identity and experience. His work crosses boundaries, moving easily between academia, fine art, and popular culture. Pecou is profoundly committed to the principle that art can make social change, and to a practice that works towards doing so. 

In 2020 Dr. Pecou was one of six artists selected for Emory University’s Arts & Social Justice Fellowship, which paired Atlanta artists with faculty members across campus to explore the vital role of creative expression in motivating social change. That same year he was selected as a South Arts State Fellowship recipient. Pecou’s work is featured in noted private and public national and international collections, including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American Art and Culture, the High Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the Collection d’Art Société Générale (Paris), as well as in public commissions like We Can’t Cop Cars Without Seeing Cop Cars on the Atlanta Beltline.

Pecou is the founding Director of the African Diaspora Art Museum of Atlanta (ADAMA), and exhibits and speaks internationally. This year he is acting as a guest curator for both the Congo Bienniale in Kinshasa, DRC, and for the Montresso Foundation in Marrakech, Morocco.


For more information please email: 

Deandra Wilson 


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