“Create like a god. Command like a king. Work like a slave. (Constantin Brancusi)… I’ve added an addendum… Love like a MOTHER.” -Fahamu Pecou
It’s not everyday that you hear someone refer to themselves as a “creative”, with no ONE category to stash one’s talents under. But when Fahamu Pecou says it, you better believe it.
Fahamu Pecou is one of the most awesome visual artists around. While today he firmly states “Fahamu Pecou is the Shit”, his beginnings are a lot more humble. Born in Brooklyn, NY, tragic circumstances uprooted him at a young age and transplanted him and his siblings in the ‘bible belt’. There is where he did his ‘growing up’, all the while honing his drawing skills. Unhappy with the hand life dealt him, he found solace in a pencil and pad. When he got old enough, he vowed to escape from his small town in South Carolina and make it BIG in the fine art world, but wasn’t sure how to manifest it.
Luckily, this man had–and still has–guardian angels (literally and figuratively) throughout his life to guide him on his purpose.
After graduating high school, he attended the Atlanta College of Art, meanwhile taking additional art classes of all places –SPELMAN COLLEGE ! Ha! Knowing him, I’m sure he loved every single minute of it too! However, his teacher and now mentor, Arturo Lindsay, didn’t let his focus get blurry. It was Arturo who stayed on Fahamu’s back making sure he did better than perfect in all that was taught to him…much to the chagrin of Fahamu!
Well it sure paid off! Today, Fahamu’s paintings are internationally known from Switzerland to London, Cape Town to France. It’s an honor to call him my great friend, and even more of an honor to have been involved in some projects with his royal “shitness” :-).
How did I get so lucky?
It all started in 2010, when he asked me to be a part of his Whirl Trade paint series. I enthusiastically jumped at the offer, meeting with him to discuss concepts and wardrobe (one of my favorite topics). Once it came together, our friend, photographer Luladae Terefe, photographed the shoot and this is our ONE (of 9 pieces) in his series entitled “When Were We Kings”:
Since then, the proverbial ‘floodgates’ of creative projects opened up, and yet again I was riding the waves! Next was Fahamu’s selection to create a Fela Kuti inspired painting for the exhibit “Life After Death: A Multi-Media Analysis of the Persona that Was/Is Fela Anikulapo Kuti” presented by The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute.
His unique take on Kuti was on the many wives he had and how they had special meaning in his life, from caring for his children, choreographing his performances and even offering him spiritual guidance.
“In the African community there are special women, they are called Iya Lajé. Women who have special powers to see, to see the future, to see front and back. These are special women…” -Fela Kuti
Fahamu asked me to call upon his select friends, asking them to be a part of his awesome project. I must say, this was one of the most exciting and rewarding projects I’ve ever been a part of. The bond that the women involved and I have to this day brings a smile to my face!
This is Fahamu Pecou’s vibrant masterpiece, entitled “Iya Lajé” (photograhed by Terrell Clark-I’m in the middle in the yellow dress)…
It didn’t stop there. Since then, others have included us in their projects and Fahamu was granted a dual residency at The Gantt Center for African-American Art and McColl Center for Visual Art, both in Charlotte, NC, all the while continuing to travel nationally and abroad exhibiting his works.
He currently has an upcoming solo exhibit in Paris at Backslash Gallery that is sure to wow the heck out of the attendees!!! Being the “creative” that he is, it was suggested that the invitations to his show be printed on old school 45 records (remember those?). Then that idea evolved into Fahamu recording a song that can actually be printed on original 45’s as invites. Now, when a song is recorded, a video is not too far behind, right? Well, Fahamu was two steps ahead and shot a promotional video for his April show! NEATO! The man paints, acts and rhymes! (…and plus his dancin’… :-)) Fahamu est multi talentueux!
For some strange reason though, he insisted on having some singing on his track, and insisted on one singer in particular. I think her name is Jamila, or something like that?
Click here to learn more about Fahamu Pecou. When you get to his collections, make sure you take your time viewing each piece, because his images are filled with tons of thought-provoking images and quotes that will give you that victorious “aha!” moment when–or if–you decode them! I’ve been a smart cookie a time or…four (hee-hee)!
Hey DaVinci-ites! Get a SHITLOAD of Pecou!