For his latest photography-project Prophecy, Fabrice Monteiro created ten mythological-futuristic statues out of trash, each of them pointing out to a striking environmental problem.
When Fabrice Monteiro started out in photography his initial focus was in fashion-photography.
But the Dakar-based belgian-beninian artist and former model soon realized he wanted to extend the field. He experimented with the lines between fashion and more socially dedicated photography to create pictures that interrogate both the viewer and the world around himself, pictures the viewers would get more involved with.
In the last years, his works focused on tough political topics such as slavery or the history of colonialism in his home-country Benin. And the African continent – it’s socio-politcal issues as well as it’s cultural heritage and traditional riches – are definitely a matter he keeps coming back to.
For his latest project „ The Prophecy“, he cooperated with Senegalese fashion designer Drousy to create ten colossal figures made entirely from trash collected throughout the country. Each of these „Jinns“ – supernatural giants – focuses on a mayor environmental issue in Senegal, most of them relevant in other african countries as well. They are installed and … shot in spots seriously endangered by pollution: a beach through which blood and entrails from a close-bye slaughterhouse are led into the ocean, a coastline covered in black plastic bags, Senegal’s largest waste dump.
The Jinns are inspired by the greek mythological figure of Gaia – personification of mother earth – and bring together futuristic fashion design and imagery from traditional storytelling. This way, Monteiro approaches the subject in a rather narrative than didactive way. By somehow personificating the problem and at the same time building up a hero-like statue that stands within – or may be against it – he lifts the issues focused to a very tangible level.
“The Prophecy” clearly points to the very striking problem of a rich natural heritage sacrificed to consumerism and economic interests. It’s ambivalence in aesthetics and approach is quite representative for Monteiro, who explored the gaps between different artistic languages as well as the two cultures that he grew up in in earlier works. It has been financed via crowdfunding with support of the green network EcoFund and is currently exhibited in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.