Dandy Lion at the Museum of Contemporary Photography
A new exhibition, Dandy Lion: (Re) Articulating Black Masculine Identity, recently opened at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, running through July 12, 2015. Guest curated by Shantrelle P. Lewis, the exhibition “seeks to distinguish the contemporary expressions of the Black Dandy phenomenon in popular culture. The first comprehensive exhibition of its kind, this project highlights young men in city landscapes who defy stereotypical and monolithic understandings of Black masculinity by remixing Victorian-era fashion with traditional African sartorial sensibilities.”
Dandy Lion: (Re) Articulating Black Masculine Identity features images of both emerging and world-renowned photographers and filmmakers from various regions of the African Diaspora, including the U.S., South Africa, the Congo, and Western Europe. Juxtaposed against an urban backdrop, the “hip hop” generation’s Black Dandy is noticeably different from the historical minstrel or Harlem Renaissance queer prototype. The 21st century Black Dandy’s sartorial choices are an expression of the African aesthetic rather than an imitation of European high-brow society. Using their self-fashioned bodies as sites of resistance, contemporary Black dandies are complicating modern narratives of what it means to be Black, masculine and fashionable today. Dandy Lion: (Re) Articulating Black Masculine Identity includes work by Hanif Abur-Rahim, Jody Ake, Kia Chenelle, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Bouba Dola, Adama Delphine Fawundu, Rose Callahan, Russell K. Frederick, Cassi Amanda Gibson,Allison Janae Hamilton, Akintola Hanif, Harness Hamese and Loux the Vintage Guru, Caroline Kaminju, Charl Landvreugd,Jati Lindsay, Devin Mays, Baudouin Mouanda, Terence Nance, Arteh Odjidja, Numa Perrier, Alexis Peskine, Radcliffe Roye, Sara Shamsavari, Nyugen Smith, Daniele Tamagni, Richard Terborg, and Rog Walker.
Shantrelle P. Lewis is an independent curator based out of Brooklyn and Philadelphia. Previously, Lewis served as the Executive Director and Curator of the McKenna Museum of African American Art as well as the Director of Public Exhibitions and Public Programming at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI). A 2014 United Nations Programme for People of African Descent Fellow and 2012-13 Andy Warhol Curatorial Fellow, Lewis has curated shows for several institutions including the United Nations, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts; Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art; the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture and the African American Museum in Philadelphia. She is currently conducting research in the Netherlands and the Dutch Caribbean in preparation for a forthcoming exhibition.
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