By Nii B. Andrews.

The practising artist and philosophy scholar, Dr Fahamu Pecou closes out the summer at backs\ash gallery in Paris with his latest solo exhibition, PEOPLE’S INSTINCTIVE TRAVELS.

With this series of paintings, Pecou explores the relentless power of African and African-American music as a “source of encounter and communion” for all peoples.

From the ancestral rhythms coded in ritual practice through Highlife, Afrobeat, R and B, Reggae, Jazz and Hip Hop; whether delivered with voice or indigenous ethnic or contemporary instruments, the wealth of the music and its impact on universal culture is undeniable.

Bob Marley, Miles Davis, Oumou Sangaré, Ali Farka Toure, Coltrane, James Brown, Oliver Mtukudzi, Nina Simone, Fela; the roll call of dizzying talent has thrilled, inspired, challenged and sometimes healed the world.

Pecou therefore posits a cohort of intra spatial or inter stellar or inter temporal travellers with music as the transport medium.

His figurative art encompasses “costumes and ritual outfits with futuristic visors,….characters rise up like contemporary African deities” with musical instruments and implements to help us all tune in to new things and open doors of understanding and empathy.

Obviously, over many centuries the different styles of African and African – American music have influenced each other and gone on to meet world wide acclaim  – and sometimes even appropriation. 

With such an important message, it is to Pecou’s artistic credit that his figures are strident with sometimes echoes of hyper realism while successfully eschewing clichés and the banal interpretation of history.

An accomplished polymath, his work is in numerous prestigious private and institutional collections: he is also a videographer (his latest film Emmett Still has won numerous awards) and regularly releases hip-hop albums featuring music he writes and performs. 

He earned his PhD at Emory where he currently lectures in philosophy.


from June 11 to July 16, 2022.


  1. Love your piece on Dr Fahamu-Pecou. Wonderful paintings…wish I could afford to buy one!

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