Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style
Friday, September 22
During the 2017 New York Art Book Fair, join Aperture at The Classroom, a curated engagement of informal conversations, workshops, readings, and other artist-led interventions for a panel discussion between Larry Ossei-Mensah, Shantrelle P. Lewis and Olaronke Akinmowo, founder of the Free Black Women’s Library. They will discuss the role of photography and Black men’s style as a form of personal politics across the Diaspora in honor of Lewis’s new book, Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style, a project that explores global Black dandyism. These men and women of African descent use style and fashion to define and inhabit a proud, radically independent public persona and cultural heritage. In the vein of Malick Sidibe and Seydou Keita, contemporary photographers capture their revolutionary spirit and sartorial attire in this internationally renowned project.
For more details about The Classroom’s programming, see here.
Suits that pop with loud colors and dazzling patterns, complete with a nearly ubiquitous bowtie, define the style of the new “dandy.” Described as “high-styled rebels” by author Shantrelle P. Lewis, black men with a penchant for color and refined fashion, both new and vintage, have gained popular attention in recent years, influencing mainstream fashion. But black dandyism itself is not new; originating in Enlightenment England’s slave culture, it has continued for generations in black cultures around the world. Now, set against the backdrop of hip-hop culture, this iteration of dandies is redefining what it means to be black, masculine, and fashionable. Dandy Lion presents and celebrates individual dandy personalities, designers and tailors, movements and events that define contemporary dandyism. Throughout the book, self expression is communicated through personal style, clothing, shoes, hats, and swagger. Lewis’s carefully curated selection of contemporary photographs surveys the movement across the globe in spectacular form, with all of the vibrant patterns, electrifying colors, and fanciful poses of this brilliant style subculture.
Shantrelle P. Lewis (author) is a U.S.-based curator and researcher specializing in diasporic aesthetics, and the survival and evolution of African retentions. She was a 2014 United Nations Program for People of African Descent Fellow and a 2012–13 Andy Warhol Curatorial Fellow. Lewis has curated exhibitions for several institutions including the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts; Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art; Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture; and the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Her traveling curatorial initiative, The Dandy Lion Project, examines global black dandyism through photography and film.
Image: Omar Victor Diop, Alt + Shift + Ego, 2013; from Dandy Lion (Aperture, 2017) © Omar Victor Diop, Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris