With his painting All Dat Glitters Ain’t Goals recently featured alongside those by the likes of Gustav Klimt and Jean-Michel Basquiat on the fictional set of new American TV show ‘Empire’, Fahamu Pecou is an artist well on his way to achieving similar status in the real art world.
Working primarily through the medium of paint, Pecou utilises his own image as a black male to comment on contemporary representations of black masculinity as it is commonly depicted in hip-hop music and entertainment, satirising the over-inflated egos, explicit wealth, and bravado in his work:
“I appear in my work not in an autobiographical sense, but as an allegory. My character “Fahamu Pecou is The Shit!” embodies the traits typically associated with black men in hip-hop and juxtaposes them within a fine art context. This character becomes a stand-in to represent the ideals and ideas of black masculinity and both the realities and fantasies projected from and onto black male bodies.”
Exploring this territory breeds questions of what happiness and fulfilment actually are, skilfully tackled in recent exhibition ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ in New York’s Lyons Wier Gallery:
Pecou’s work asks “Who are we minus the labels and attachments of popular culture? What does "happy" actually look, and feel, like?”
The artist’s most recent solo show was at the Museum of Contemporary art of Georgia, a series of studies exploring the ability of black males to succeed in modern society; entitled ‘GRAV•I•TY’, the paintings used the fashion trend of ‘saggin’’ as an allegory to comment on contradictions of mobility, access and agency for young black men.
Other notable projects by the artist include a series of conversations that took place in the spring last year; entitled interSessions, Pecou invited figures from the hip-hop community to dialogue with figures from the art world on issues on a range of subjects related to the arts and entertainment, and their impact on popular culture and society.
Also working as a performance artist, writer, and scholar, Pecou is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the Institute of Liberal Arts Emory University in Atlanta.