Chobi Mela VIII Festival
Rotimi Fani-Kayode (1989-1955)
23 January - 5 February 2015
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy
A retrospective of the work of this seminal and highly influential figure in 1980s black British and African contemporary art, part of the Chobi Mela VIII photography festival.
Although his career was cut short by his untimely death at the age of 34, Rotimi Fani-Kayode remains one of the most significant names in the history of black photography.
His photographic portraits explore complex personal and politically-engaged notions of desire, spirituality and cultural dislocation. They depict the black male body as a focal point both to interpret and probe the boundaries of spiritual and erotic fantasy, and of cultural and sexual difference. Ancestral rituals and a provocative, multi-layered symbolism fuse with archetypal motifs from European and African cultures and subcultures- inspired by what Yoruba priests call “the technique of ecstasy”.
Hence Fani-Kayode uses the medium of photography not only to question issues of sexuality and homoerotic desire, but also to address themes of diaspora and belonging, and the tensions between his homosexuality and his Yoruba upbringing.